Croquet match settles centuries-old dispute over how to pronounce River Nene

·2-min read
Peterborough and Northampton Croquet Clubs battle it out at Central Park, Peterborough, May 16 2021. See SWNS story SWMDcroquet; Two communities will today (Sun) settle a centuries-old dispute over the correct way to pronounce a river which runs through them - with a match of CROQUET.  The River Nene originates in Northamptonshire and runs for 100 miles through Cambridgeshire and Norfolk before flowing into The Wash. But for generations there has been controversy over the way it is pronounced - locals in Northampton say “Nen” while 40 miles away in Peterborough they say “Neen”.  When a long-awaited local croquet derby was planned the two sides decided to up the stakes by making it a decider on the pronunciation. The first side to win five games in today’s (Sun) match will claim the right for the river to be pronounced their way.
Peterborough and Northampton Croquet Clubs battled it out to decide the pronunciation of the River Nene. (SWNS)

A centuries-old dispute over how to pronounce the name of a river was settled on Sunday — with a croquet match. 

For generations, communities have disagreed over how to pronounced the name of the River Nene, with originates in Northamptonshire and runs for 100 miles through Cambridgeshire and Norfolk before flowing into The Wash.

In Northampton, locals pronounce in 'Nen', while in Peterborough it is called 'Neen'. 

To resolve the issue, organisers of a local croquet derby decided to make the match a decider on which pronunciation should be used, with the first side to win five games in the match on Sunday claiming the right for the river to be pronounced their way.

There has been a dispute over the pronunciation of the River Nene for generations. (SWNS)
There has been a dispute over the pronunciation of the River Nene for generations. (SWNS)

The Northampton team won, beating their Peterborough rivals seven games to two in a four-hour contest, winning the right for the river to be pronounced 'Nen'.

Losing skipper Paul Hetherington said: "It is now called the 'Nen' unfortunately, I think it was conclusive enough for them to call the river that.

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"They won golf croquet six nil and the association doubles but we did win the association singles where I beat their leader Paul. 

"They have got the trophy where the name of the river has been moved to Northampton until next year when there will be a return leg at some point.

"Then we'll win the trophy back and be able to call the river the 'Neen' again."

Peterborough and Northampton Croquet clubs battled it out to decide the pronunciation of the river, with Northampton winning. (SWNS)
Peterborough and Northampton Croquet clubs battled it out to decide the pronunciation of the river, with Northampton winning. (SWNS)

He added: "It was disappointing for us but a really good fun day. I think it’s been a great day for the sport of croquet to raise publicity, and I’d say to anyone interested in Northampton to join us to win back our name for the river."

In a Facebook post to Northampton Croquet Club, Chard wrote: "It's now official the River Nene is to be pronounced River 'Nen' rhymes with hen as Northampton beat Peterborough 7 games to 2.

"Our Golf croquet team comprising Ann, Rita and Martyn excelled in their games. Whilst James and Paul won their doubles but lost out in the singles games against some stiff opposition."

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