A GROUP of friends who started playing tennis at a party are now developing into county players together.

The friends, from St. Paul’s School, got their first taste of the sport at the party at Hereford Squash Tennis and Racketball Club in 2014 for Tom Griffiths who was celebrating his fifth birthday.

The group have since found success together at school and club level, guiding St. Paul’s to tennis victory in the Herefordshire Schools Games and Hereford Squash, Tennis and Racketball to County Club Champions in their under-nine age group.

Griffiths, plays three times a week with his friends at the club and also travels with them to train for the county in Malvern every Friday.

He said: “I never thought we would all take up tennis together after my party but we all love playing and we’ve become really good friends. "Playing tennis is great fun and we really enjoy travelling around the country together to represent the club and county.”

His father Andrew added: “They have become a really close and a tight knit crew and that has all come about through playing tennis together.

"Sport and tennis in particular is such a social activity whether you’re nine or 90 so I hope they continue to grow up playing together and staying friends.”

News of the group’s success comes as local venues and clubs, along with hundreds of others in the country, throw their doors open this weekend as part of the LTA’s drive to give children and people of all ages the chance to give the sport a try for free through its Nature Valley Big Tennis Weekend initiative.

Free activities on offer include junior and family sessions along with cardio tennis activities, which aim to highlight the fun and social side of the sport.

To find your nearest Nature Valley Big Tennis Weekend participating club or venue and sign up for a free activity visit https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/OpenDays