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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Edward Noel Larmour (later Sir EN Larmour)
  • Born 25 December 1916, Belfast
  • Died 21 August 1999, Belfast
  • Educated Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Dublin University, Sydney University
  • Occupation Indian Civil Service then Diplomat
  • Debut 16 July 1938 v Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow
  • Cap Number 415
  • Style Right-hand bat
  • Teams NICC, Instonians, Dublin University

Noel Larmour - always known as Nick - was a sound right hand opening batsman who was outstanding as both a scholar and sportsman at "Inst." Having already played for NICC at senior level, he entered Dublin University in September 1935 and spent the next four summers in the 1st XI, while continuing to play, when available, for NICC in the holidays.

He also enhanced his reputation for academic excellence, as a Scholar of Trinity College (the University is uni Collegiate, so the titles may be seen as interchangeable) and in gaining a First Class Degree in Classics. Described by "Dublin University Cricket Club: A Pictorial History as "Naturally gifted," Nick hit five 50s in competitive cricket for the XI, including four in 1938, during which season he was capped for Ireland. That season, also, he played in a winning cup team. In Leinster competitive cricket that season, Nick hit 442 runs at 58.60 winning him the Marchant Cup.

Returning to Belfast, he was in the NICC team, which despite scoring only 189 overcame Donacloney by an inning to win the NCU Challenge Cup. This may have been some consolation for Nick, who, in 1937 had been in the University side which had gone down by 2 wickets to Phoenix in the Leinster Cup Final. The 1939, his last in the University XI proved to be his last in serious cricket, fittingly he captained the side.

He played in all five of Ireland's 1938 matches opening the batting in all but one - the first Australian match. Unfortunately, he did not meet with much success, except on debut v Scotland at Hamilton Crescent. Here, opening with Frank Connell of Leinster, he was out for 11 in the first innings but played a long defensive knock of 34 in the second, including a third wicket stand of 92 with Donald Shearer (67). Nick was eventually bowled by Aberdonian paceman GT Fowles. Otherwise, he managed only one other double figure score, 19, in the second innings of the MCC match in College Park. He was then bowled by the leg spinner JM Brockklebank, a future baronet, who was a regular v Ireland either side of the War .Nick might have been considered somewhat lucky against the Australians.

At Ormeau, batting at 6, he was caught behind off the left arm spin of Frank Ward. Ward was underused during the tour but the wicket keeper Ben Barnett was better known on that tour for a missed chance! Just over three weeks previously he had failed to stump Len Hutton off Bill O'Reilly on the first day of the Oval Test. Hutton, on 40, had gone on to make the then test record 364, enabling Wally Hammond to declare on 903/7. In Dublin, opening again Nick was bowled by medium fast bowler Mervyn Waite, who had a teas career bowling average of 190.00! Nick might have wished that Barnett and Waite had saved their Oval form for Belfast and Dublin.

In some brief memoirs which appeared in a brochure for DUCC's 150th anniversary (not the Pictorial History) Nick wrote that, "My cricketing days ended in 1939, thereafter as British diplomat serving in the Commonwealth, I had to be content with gin and tonic games." That is certainly true but it ignores a part of his life, which, though non cricketing, ought to appear in any biographical study. In 1939, on graduating, he applied for the Indian Civil Service, but, while waiting joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

In 1940, the ICS pulled him out of the Army for a year's training at Sydney University. (Was the cricket there only "gin and tonic?") Then, in 1942, with the Japanese already in the country, he was sent to join the Governor of Burma north of Mandalay. The morning after his arrival, he found the Governor and staff evacuated, while he was left with a large number of refugees and the enemy only miles away. He organised his charges in a 200 mile march overt he mountains, chased by the Japanese, to India and safety. There he joined the Indian Army, remaining until demobilisation, in 1946, allowed him to return home to marry Nancy Bell, the fiancée he had not seen for five years. She returned with him returned to Rangoon, where, just before independence, he was in the next room when the Burmese Prime Minister, and virtually his entire cabinet, were assassinated.

Nick then joined the diplomatic service and had a long and distinguished career preparing Commonwealth nations for independence. He strongly favoured decolonisation and was widely respected. His last post was as High Commissioner to Jamaica where he found watching cricket a useful means of solving problems. He retired with a knighthood and CMG. He then ran the association of former British ICS members, helped many and made sure that a valuable historical archive was compiled. His one regret was that cricket had changed. He wrote in the DUCC Brochure, "I have never found international matches in the post Packer era worth watching. They have nothing in common with cricket as I remember it in College Park."

He had settled in London but was on a visit to his sister in Belfast when his unexpected death occurred. Obituaries were carried by the broadsheet newspapers and his cricket career was, very, briefly noted in Wisden Obituaries 2000.