- Born 13 April 1967 Banbridge, Co Down
- Educated Banbridge Academy
- Occupation Operations Manager
- Debut 29 July 1990 v Wales at Kimmage
- Cap Number 579
- Style Right hand bat, right arm medium pace
- Teams Millpark, Waringstown
Noel Nelson, younger brother of Alan, was a good medium pace bowler and useful lower order batsman good enough to class as an all rounder at club level. Following his brother to the junior club Millpark, having developed his cricket abilities at Banbridge Academy, he soon moved to The Lawn, becoming an essential part of the Waringstown side. In competitive matches throughout his career with the villagers he took 205 wickets at 16.97 and scored 1726 runs at 16.44.
He played in five NCU Challenge Cup winning sides but made little impact in the Finals, taking only two wickets both against Lurgan, one on debut in 1987 and the other in his last appearance in such matches in 1995. The 1987 match also saw his highest score in a Final, a second innings 14. He was also part of The Schweppes (Irish Senior) Cup winning side in 1992, the year of Waringstown's treble when they carried off both cups as well as winning the NCU Senior League. However he neither batted nor bowled as Waringstown defeated the rival village of Sion Mills, with some ease.
Noel was a regular member of the Ulster Country Interprovincial side from 1989 to 1995. His performances tended to be useful rather than outstanding but one match stands out. In 1990 against Munster at Shaw's Bridge, UC led off with a formidable enough 263-4, all the wickets falling to Munster's international paceman John McDevitt. Munster managed to hold on for draw at 178-8, the Nelson brothers having taken all but one of the wickets which fell. Alan had 4-38 but Noel with 3-49 was not far behind him.
After an appearance for An Ireland XI against Mashonaland side in 1989, he went wicketless as the visitors won by 7 wickets, Noel made his full international debut against Wales at Kimmage the following summer. This was a closely fought match which ended in the tensest of draws with Wales two runs short with one wicket standing. Noel had one wicket in each innings, his 1-14 in the visitors' first, remaining his best bowling for Ireland. Having retained his place in the side - and toured Scotland with the U 23 team - Noel was selected for the Zimbabwe tour early in 1991, he was to have one impressive match, ironically as a batsman.
This was the last game of the tour against Matabeland and Ireland, after leading by 70 in the first innings, both sides having declared, were in some trouble in the second, being in some danger of defeat when Noel came in at the fall of the 6th wicket. He proceeded to dominate the attack, scoring a vigorous, undefeated 56 out of the 71 added while he was at he wicket. His unbroken 8th wicket partnership with Paul McCrum realised 50 runs, with Paul finishing on 7! After a declaration the hosts lost 4 wickets in batting out time. Had it not been for Noel, they might well have been celebrating victory.
Though never selected for Ireland again after the tour, Noel continued to be a force for Waringstown well into the decade. He then returned to Millpark and, together with His brother Alan and Davy Dennison, had much to do with the Club's rapidly improving performances. He played a prominent part in the 1999 NCU Junior Cup Final against Bangor Second XI, which finished in tie for the first time in the competition's history. Again this was as a batsman. He made a highly praised 64 in the second innings being mainly responsible for Millpark finishing on 171-8 with the scores level.
Edward Liddle, September 2011