Frinton stalwart Matt Byford looked on the bright side after his side's heavy defeat at National League heavyweights Muswell Hill Methodist.

The London side are red-hot favourites for this year's men's division two title and showed their class with a 12-0 success against the men from Tendring.

But Byford told the Gazette: "We came up against a very strong team with players who were previously ATP ranked and currently hold 1.1 and 1.2 LTA ratings - the highest given in the UK.

"Muswell Hill will almost certainly win the division - I'll be very surprised if they don't - and, although a couple of the matches were one-sided, others were very competitive.

"They've won every game so far and, amazingly, have only dropped one set all season.

"On top of that, the weather conditions were stifling with the temperature 29C."

Byford, who lives in Thorpe, was one of the Frinton players involved in a nail-biting game before eventually losing 6-2, 7-5.

He was 5-4 up in the second set and winning 30-0 when his opponent hit two aces, soon followed by a third, to stage a stirring comeback.

Frinton's Tom Perry was also involved in a thriller as his first set went to a tie-break, before he lost 7-6, 6-1.

The other matches were more one-sided, though.

Head coach Chris Harris was first up but lost 6-1, 6-0 to a former ATP world-ranked player, while coach Lee Austin went down 6-2, 6-4.

Frinton then lost both doubles matches 6-2, 6-2.

Byford, 23, believes avoiding relegation in such a high division will be a major achivement.

"We're in a very high division and have been for five years, so our main aim is to stay up," he said.

"Beyond that, our big goal is to try and finish third or fourth, which is realistic."

Frinton started their campaign with a 10-2 success against Cranbrook Castle but then lost their second match by the same score to Letchworth. They currently sit fifth in the eight-team division behind leaders Muswell Hill Methodist, Letchworth, Halton and Gerrards Cross.

Frinton entertain fellow Essex side Thorpe Bay in their next match on Sunday, starting at 12pm.