WHILE most of Scotland's club players have already hung up their

tennis rackets for the winter, the county squads are preparing to do

battle with their English and Welsh counterparts in the forthcoming LTA

Indoor County Championships.

With six of the eight Scottish counties relegated after the

Inter-County Grass-court championships in July, the Scots will be aiming

for an improved performance, despite having to hold the majority of

their practice sessions outdoors.

West District coach Colin Hanbidge explained: ''With only four

purpose-built indoor courts in Scotland it is virtually impossible to

prepare properly for this event. Inevitably, we start at a distinct

disadvantage from our opponents.''

The Gannochy Centre, Stirling, hosts women's Group 4a, which involves

Bedfordshire , Durham and Cleveland, Derbyshire, and the North of

Scotland, whose squad includes the junior champion, Jennifer Duncan.

West women will be relying on Scottish No.2 Heather Lockhart to win

them promotion from Group 5a at Wigan, where they face Avon, Hereford

and Worcester, and North Hamptonshire, while East and South contest

Group 6a at Middlesbrough with Suffolk and the Isle of Man.

Scottish hard-court champion Malcolm Watt leads the West men against

Sussex, Cheshire, and Somerset in Group 4b at Eastbourne, while Ken Wood

heads the East squad which takes on Avon, Derbyshire, and

Northamptonshire in Group 4a at Sheffield. North men contest Group 5a at

Newcastle with Northumberland, Shropshire, and Cambridgeshire, and South

head for Wrexham to face Bedfordshire, Witlshire, and the Isle of Man in

Group 6a.

Alan Mackin, from Paisley, and Mhairi Brown, from Kirkcaldy, have been

selected to compete later this month in a European junior tournament in