A NEW season is under way at Helensburgh Tennis Club - and the club's over-55 men's team are the first ones out of the blocks.

Having lost 3-2 to Hillhead in their opening West of Scotland knockout cup fixture, Helensburgh were expecting a tough tie as they travelled to Greenock to play Ardgowan in the first round of the consolation event.

Those expectations were based, at least in part, on the Greenock club's courts being artificial grass, while Helensburgh's players are more used to the new synthetic clay surface they've been playing on for the past year.

And the expectation that it might be a long day looked like it was on course to being fulfilled, at least as far as first couple Alastair Hope and Bobby Kerr were concerned, as they lost the first set 6-0 and found themselves 3-0 down in the second within 40 minutes.

Their opponents looked to be coasting to an easy win, but Alastair and Bobby are known for their comebacks, and as they got used to the low bounces and fast courts their confidence returned, and a 3-0 deficit became a 4-3 lead.

Ardgowan, who had lost to Whitecraigs in the first round of the main cup competition, took the eighth game to level the set, but the wind was in the Helensburgh pair's sails, and a combination of sharp net play and deep returns saw them take the set 6-4 and go on to wrap up the decider by a comfortable 6-1 margin.

At second couple, Harry Gould and Keith Love had no such trouble, completing a straightforward victory in two sets to set up a trip to Lenzie in the last four, with the winner set to face East Renfrewshire opposition in the form of either Giffnock or Clarkston in the final.

Meanwhile, Helensburgh Tennis Club is running Easter camps for young players, beginning on Monday, April 1 and running from 9.30am to 12 noon. 

There are two sessions available, one for players aged 5-8 years and one for those aged 9-16. To book go to clubspark.lta.org.uk/AlimacsTennis/Coaching/Camps.