Croquet contest will resolve an age-old dispute between the locals in Northampton and Peterborough over how to pronounce the name of the River Nene
- Locals in Northampton say ‘Nen’, but miles away in Peterborough they say ‘No’
- The first side to win five games in today’s game determines the verdict of the river
- Both teams agreed to use the winning statement in all public interviews
- They have plans to make it an annual tie so that the river’s name can change again
Two communities will take on an age-old dispute over the correct way to pronounce the local river – with a game of croquet.
Generations of people from Northampton and Peterborough have fought over the right way to pronounce the River Nene, but the dispute will be settled at the local croquet derby this weekend.
The river has its source in Northamptonshire and runs for 100 miles through Cambridgeshire and Norfolk before flowing into The Wash.
Paul Chard, chairman of Northampton Croquet Club (pictured), said the local population in Peterborough and Northampton is deeply divided on how to pronounce the river’s name.
The locals of Northampton call the river ‘Nen’, while 40 miles away in Peterborough they say ‘No’.
The origin of the Nene – the UK’s 10th longest river – is unknown, but its name has changed over the years and has been known as ‘Nenn’ or ‘Nyn’ over the years.
The first team to win five games in Sunday’s game will claim the right to pronounce the river their way.
Paul Hetherington, 56, Peterborough club secretary, said: ‘The dispute has been going on for a long time, it must be centuries old.
“I’ve always been interested in the verdict because the cities are only 40 miles apart and we’re just downstream from Northampton.”
The River Nene has its source in Northamptonshire and runs through Cambridgeshire and Norfolk
Paul Chard, 61, Chairman of Northampton Croquet Club, added: ‘It’s kind of strange why there is a difference.
With Peterborough and Northampton deeply divided north and south of the river, you sometimes hear people living in the middle swinging back and forth between the two statements.
‘When I moved here 20 years ago, I learned what local people said to me and it wasn’t until I played with people like Paul that I heard the different pronunciation.
The river itself has been important to the development of both cities, with the leather trade in Northampton and the industry in Peterborough. It has a lot of history. ‘
Paul Hetherington Peterborough club secretary (right), came up with the idea of the match
Despite being only 40 miles apart, it is rare for the rivals to play against each other so it was decided that the opportunity would come at a significant price.
‘It was Paul from Peterborough who came up with the idea of theming the riverside game and when we win it’s called the’ Nen ‘and when they win it’s called the’ Nene ‘,’ added Mr Chard to.
The teams will play nine games, three of the longer club croquet and six of the shorter version of golf croquet.
The origin of the Nene (pictured) – the UK’s 10th longest river – is unknown, but its name has changed over the years; it has been called ‘Nenn’ or ‘Nyn’ over the years
“In an ideal world, one team will win decisively and that will rule the verdict,” Chard said.
Paul from Peterborough has made a trophy from an OS map of both cities. He will move the name River Nene to whichever side is currently winning. ‘
The losing team has agreed to the stipulation that their city will pronounce the river’s name in the manner of the winning team in all correspondence and public interviews.
The two cities play in different croquet competitions and so rarely meet for a derby
But there are plans to make the competition an annual event so that the ruling can shift.