Holcombe Brook ladies team made a flying start to their bid to qualify for the Aegon National Team Tennis finals by hammering Scottish team Stirling University 6-0 at home.

Captain Tony Lawson has high hopes that this year’s team can go all the way and repeat the victory of 2008.

He has added Cheshire ace Samantha Murray to his squad and she led the way with convincing wins in both the singles and doubles.

With a late withdrawal of Yasmin Clarke, Lawson gave an oppotunity to promising Bury teenager Elanor Kelly, who justified her selection with a 6-3, 6-2 win in the fourth singles.

The men’s team, playing their second round robin match, having defeated Nuffield of Hull earlier in the month, were also at home to Stirling.

And, although they recorded a 5-1 win, their victory was much harder.

The highlight of the match, against opposition who had beaten fancied Northern Manchester a week earlier, was the spirited performance of number one Simon Roberts.

The Bolton man, who never knows when he is beaten, battled back from 5-2 down in the deciding third set to win a tight tie breaker.

Roberts then partnered captain Andrew Davies – who had earlier produced an impressive singles victory playing at number four – to a spectaclar hard-hitting doubles win that secured the match.

Chris Parkes and Rob Morgan won their doubles game to secure a 5-1 win that rather flattered the home side.

This weekend sees the opening rounds of the annual Holcombe Brook Open Tournament. Simon Roberts will be unable to defend his title so Nathan Jones of Milnrow, last year’s beaten finalist will be the number one seed.

In the ladies championship, defending champion Hayley Warrington from Ramsbottom will be seeded to play Hawkshaw’s Rachael Brannigan in the final.

The pair last met two years ago when they fought a terrific semi-final before Warrington came out on top.