YOUNG badminton players from Hummersknott School, Darlington kept up the fine traditions established there over the years with outstanding performances at the national schools' finals at Luton last weekend.

The boys' under 13 team returned home with silver medals after winning their group to reach the final against Wilson School, Surrey.

All the boys who played contributed vital wins in the group stage. Mark Dobinson, playing first singles, had some excellent victories against leading county players from other areas, while Matthew Blewitt won nine out of his ten matches.

He played five singles and teamed up with Mark Reeves in five doubles. He and Mark Dobinson were appearing in their third consecutive finals, having first represented Mowden Juniors in 1999.

But it was a new experience for Scott Iveson, the youngest member of the squad, who had hit his first shuttlecock in school just over six months ago. The fifth member of the team was Caleb May.

The girls' team of Jenny Blewitt, Katie Zissler, Diane Gray and Jenny Robertson finished fourth, the school's best girls' team result since 1990.

Team manager Philip Boyle said: "They performed very well, better than expected.

"And we've had some positive comments from the organisers and parents about the way they played and behaved."

He also paid tribute to the contribution made by current coach Mike Dixon, a Durham county player.

Meanwhile, a group of 30 Hummersknott players, parents and staff travel to Cyprus, Egypt and Jordan at Easter on a tour to promote junior international badminton.