HELENSBURGH Tennis Club’s men’s first team started their new season with a nail-biting match away to Strathgryffe this week.

At first couple, David Reid and Kevin Stephen won their opening two sets 6-4, 6-4.

The third and final set was equally close, but whilst the Helensburgh pair managed to get the vital breaks of serve in the first two sets, the home team was determined to salvage something from the match and it went all the way to the tie break.

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The lead changed several times but it was Strathgryffe who got to set point first. Reid served at 5-6 down, and a long baseline rally followed – but just as the Helensburgh pair thought they had their opponents on the back foot a cruel net cord from Strathgryffe saw the ball limp over the net and the set was lost.

At second couple, David McCowan and Stephen Lewis lost their opening set 1-6, but stormed back to take the next set by the same score, only to lose a closely-fought final set 4-6.

Alastair Hope and Bobby Kerr, playing at third couple, were slow to get into the match, and lost the opening set 4-6.

They led 3-1 in the second set, but couldn’t capitalise on the break of serve, and again lost the set 4-6.

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By the third set, the Helensburgh pair were starting to attack more, and soon took the lead, holding on to take the final set 6-2.

Unfortunately that wasn’t quite enough to secure overall victory for Helensburgh, with Strathgryffe winning the tie by the narrow margin of five sets to four.

Meanwhile, Helensburgh’s junior coaching programme starts this Monday and Wednesday (April 29 and May 1) with red, orange, green and yellow balls classes. There are also classes for adult beginners and improvers.

Full details on all the classes available can be found at the club’s website (tennishelensburgh.org.uk).