FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD Archie Bell showed the future is bright for Helensburgh Tennis Club as he stepped up to make his debut for one of the club’s senior teams.

Archie has been at the club since the age of six and relished the opportunity to step up when injuries left the club’s gents’ second team short of players for the trip to Glasgow’s south side to play Langside.

Archie partnered Keith Love against a Langside pair who were in fierce form, but Archie held his own and despite losing their game in straight sets Keith praised Archie for his grit and determination and his willingness to play his part – a combination which will no doubt see him called upon again in the future.

The other Helensburgh pairings for the match also found their Langside opponents in good form, and only Bobby Kerr and Alastair Hope were able to salvage a set in a 1-8 defeat for the away side.

Three nights later the team played their first home match, against Hillhead, this time with a full team. Bill Ram, back from injury, and David McCowan took a while to get going, losing the opening two sets, but came back to take the third, while Alastair Hope and Bobby Kerr were in great form, taking all three of their sets.

Keith Love and Harry Gould could have taken two sets, but lost each one after multi-deuce games at 4-4 in both sets as the Helensburgh team slipped to a 4-5 overall loss.

Injuries are also making it difficult for the Helensburgh gents’ first team to field a full team, but that didn’t stop them recording an impressive 8-1 win at home to Western on a beautiful Friday evening.

Bobby Kerr partnered Cameron White at third couple, and despite it being his third match of the week, Bobby helped Cameron to a 2-1 win, while Fraser Fulton and Felix Carpenter won their match 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 and Alan MacBeath and Stephen Lewis also won comfortably, 6-2, 6-0, 6-2.

The ladies’ second team, meanwhile, also welcomed a new team member, Anna Short, who helped Helensburgh to an 8-1 win at home to Kilmacolm.

Anna has been playing tennis at Helensburgh for a while and felt confident enough to take up the invitation to join the team – and her confidence was more than justified as she partnered team captain Barbara Gillies to a 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 win in an impressive debut.

The ladies’ 60-plus first team enjoyed an impressive 5-1 win against Anchor, with Mary Allan and Jane Carroll narrowly losing the opening set 5-7 but coming back to take then next two 6-4, 6-1; Jackie Hunter and Val Pace had no such problems at second couple and won 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.

The men’s 60-plus first team lost 1-5 to Milngavie but the 60+ second team beat Bishopton 4-2; Jim Hunter and Nigel Parlane lost by two sets to one, but Nigel Canty and John Jones won 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to tip the balance of the match firmly in Helensburgh’s favour.

The men’s third team had a mixed week with a win against Kilmacolm and a loss at Strathgryffe.