South Wales was famous for the production and exportation of steel, but the importation of John Steele by Glamorgan in 1984 was equally influential as the former Leicestershire spinner added nous and experience to the young line-up and after retiring he played a key role shaping the Colts team – several of whom went on to win honours with Glamorgan, and England, during the 1990s.
John moved to Glamorgan after playing for Leicestershire for fourteen years, with the left-arm spinner soon forming an effective bowling partnership with Rodney Ontong`s off-spin, with John taking 68 wickets during his first season with the Welsh county. His steady right-handed batting also bolstered their middle order, with John scoring a century against Oxford University in 1985.
However. John’s first-class career was brought to a sudden end midway through the 1986 season as he suffered a severe hand injury in the match with Somerset at Cardiff whilst stopping a ball off his own bowling and he was forced to retire. However, John then took over a role with the county’s second string and captained Glamorgan`s 2nd XI from 1987 until 1993. He then stood as a first-class umpire from 1994 until 2011.
John had initially played Minor County cricket for his native Staffordshire between 1965 and 1969, before joining Leicestershire in 1970. During his career with the East Midlands club, John won his county cap in 1971, and developed into a consistent opening batsman, adding 335 with Barry Dudleston against Glamorgan. His brother David played for Northamptonshire, Derbyshire and England.
STEELE, John Frederick
Born – Brown Edge, Staffordshire, 23rd July 1946.
Best performances for Glamorgan:
In first-class cricket – 100* v Oxford University at The Parks, 1985; 5/42 v Warwickshire at Edgbaston, 1984.
In List A cricket – 38* v Surrey at The Oval, 1984; 5/30 v Middlesex at Lord’s, 1985.