PERENNIAL entrants Virgin Active Wearside had a good opening day at the Hunters National Premier League finals at David Lloyd Leeds.

Matches are played over two days, and the north-east club, who are seeded seventh, are leading both of their contests 2-0 at the halfway stage against St George's Hill and David Lloyd Westbury.

And perennial player Ainsley Kershaw, who took part in the inaugural event 16 years ago, did his bit for Wearside at the Moortown venue.

After partnering Sean Galpin to a 5-7, 6-4, 10-7 victory over Chris Clark and Andrew Kennaugh of St George's Hill, Kershaw, whose hair cannot conceal the odd fleck of grey nowadays, said: "I must have only been 21 when that first event was held, but we have reached the finals weekend in most of those years.

"I would give Sean and myself a seven out of ten for that display, but tie-break final sets are a bit of a lottery."

Samuel Archer and Henry Beesley defeated George R Davies and Tim Sagar 6-4, 6-4 in the other rubber, and followed that up with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) triumph over James Pugh and Tom Spinks of David Lloyd Westbury.

Meanwhile, Galpin and Kershaw were seeing off Roy Knight and Bhaskar Kumar 6-3, 6-3 to put them in a healthy position in that match, which will also be finished off tomorrow.

Teams are initially playing in groups to try and qualify for knockout quarter-finals on Sunday, and Draycott Stoke also led 2-0 against Shrewsbury in the morning, but got little joy out of physically imposing fifth seeds Millfield School (last year's runners-up) in the afternoon.

Virgin Active Norfolk, who are seeded eighth, were 1-1 with Tennis World Middlesbrough - one of four Yorkshire clubs in the qualifying - while sixth seeds Leeds Beckett University were leading Graves Sheffield 2-0 in an all-white rose affair.

Tennis World Middlesbrough could easily have led 2-0, however, as Clay Crawford and Matthew Jackman were 9-6 up in the super tie-break against Will Davies and Joe Tyler, only to lose five successive points, and with it the rubber.

The group stages continue tomorrow from 9.15am, with the quarter-finals on Sunday (10am, 11.30am), with the semi-finals starting at 6pm and 7.30pm before the final on Easter Monday (2pm).

Already through to the quarter-finals are top seeds Queen's Club, second seeds Cardiff Met University, who are bidding for a third straight title, third seeds Gosling (winners in 2013 and 2014 and runners-up in 2015) and fourth seeds Roehampton.

Among the nominated players for Cardiff are former Wimbledon doubles champion Jonny Marray and 2016 Wimbledon sensation Marcus Willis, while Great Britain Davis Cup player Dominic Inglot, who has reached the ATP Tour doubles final in Marrakesh tomorrow (noon local time) with Croatia's Mate Pavic, is in the Queen's Club squad.

The unseeded Inglot and Pavic defeated top seeds Raven Klaasen (South Africa) and Rajeev Ram (United States) 3-6, 7-6, 10-8 in today's Grand Prix Hassan II semi-final, and will meet second seeded Spaniards Marcos Granollers and Marc Lopez (Spain), who beat Florian Mergea (Romania) and Aisam Quereshi (Pakistan) 7-6 (11-9), 6-7 (4-7), 10-4 in their semi-final.        

10am matches - Draycott Stoke lead Shrewsbury 2-0 (Elliott Farmer & Craig Leese bt Simon Ferguson & Luke Henley 7-5, 5-7, 11-9; Ryan Hallam & Jack Redfern bt Edward Gibbs & Alex Parry 6-4, 3-6, 10-3).

Virgin Active Wearside (7) lead St George's Hill 2-0 (Sean Galpin & Ainsley Kershaw bt Chris Clark & Andrew Kennaugh 5-7, 6-4, 10-7; Samuel Archer & Henry Beesley bt George R Davies & Tim Sagar 6-4, 6-4).

11.30am matches - Virgin Active Norfolk (8) drawing 1-1 with Tennis World Middlesbrough (Richard Bloomfield & Daniel Wynne lost to Ellis Ward & Matt Wigham 2-6, 6-2, 8-10; Will Davies & Joe Tyler bt Clay Crawford & Matthew Jackman 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-2), 11-9).  

Leeds Beckett University (6) lead Graves Sheffield 2-0 (Peter Ashley & Nick Eeckerlaers bt Sam Salt & Dominic Sutton 6-3, 6-1; Nick Turnbull & Jordan Reed-Thomas bt Tom Dyakowski & Joe Wood 6-3, 6-1).

2pm matches - Virgin Active Wearside (7) lead David Lloyd Westbury 2-0 (Samuel Archer & Henry Beesley bt James Pugh & Tom Spinks 6-2, 7-6 (7-3); Sean Galpin & Ainsley Kershaw bt Roy Knight & Bhaskar Kumar 6-3, 6-3).

Millfield School (5) lead Draycott Stoke 2-0 (Nick Brookes & Mathew James bt Ryan Hallam & Jack Redfern 6-1, 6-0; Luke Hammond & Daniel Manlow bt Elliott Farmer & Craig Leese 6-2, 6-4).