BADMINTON: St James’ School’s under-16s badminton team missed out on a place at the national finals by the narrowest of margins.

The Farnworth school, who won the Bolton and the Greater Manchester tournaments to qualify for Monday’s North West finals, won three games and lost one against schools from Cumbria, Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire.

They got off to a bad start at Leigh Sports Village, losing 3-2 to Bluecoats of Merseyside. But they rallied to beat Weaverham High of Cheshire 4-1, Hutton Grammar of Lancashire 4-1 and Caldew of Cumbria 3-2.

They then faced Bluecoats, who had an identical record, in a play-off with the winners going to the national finals in Nottingham and went down 3-2.

The day was a personal triumph for St James’s Chris Mealor who was identified as an up-and-coming talent by Lancashire representatives and has been invited for trials at the Lancashire Performance Centre.