Ruislip’s ace duo fire Middlesex to promotion
Page and MacFarlane help county into the top division
FANTASTIC Ruislip stars have helped Middlesex win promotion to the top division of county tennis for the first time in 30 years.
Josh Page, 21, and Jack MacFarlane, 18, were key members of the triumphant Middlesex men’s team which saw off competition from five other counties to win Division Two of the Aegon County Cup.
The prestigious week-long doubles competition is held each summer at seven grass court venues across the country.
Middlesex competed in Cromer, Norfolk, and can now look forward to playing at Premier level on the lush lawns of Eastbourne in 2017 – the venue of the famous international women’s tournament held each year before Wimbledon.
Both boys, currently on tennis scholarships at universities in America, learnt their tennis under the guidance of professional tennis coaches, brothers Steve and Peter Butcher, at the Virgin Active Riverside Club, Northwood.
Page, who started playing tennis aged seven, attended Ruislip’s Warrender Primary School and Bishop Ramsey, Church of England School. His father, Rev Derek Page, is senior minister at Ruislip Baptist Church.
Former British U16 champion MacFarlane is going into his final year at San Diego State University, in California.
MacFarlane, who took up the sport as a six-year-old, attended Whiteheath Primary School, in Ruislip, and The John Lyon School at Harrow. MacFarlane, who reached number two in the British junior rankings, is studying finance at Georgia State University, in Atlanta. Both boys hope to carry on their tennis careers when they finish their studies.
Both players were coached individually and in squads by the Butcher brothers until about the age of 14, when they moved to the Win Academy at Bisham Abbey and then returned to Northwood club’s elite JTC Academy, run by top British coaches Alan Jones, David Felgate and former Wimbledon semi-finalist Jo Durie.
Steve Butcher said: “From an early age both Josh and Jack showed similar qualities – commitment, competitiveness, passion, drive and determination. They have always been great athletes with a strong work ethic.”
He added: “My brother Pete and I are really proud of the fact that Josh and Jack have taken the skills that we taught to them as youngsters to the highest level of the county game.
“They have also turned out to be lovely unassuming young men, appreciative of all the support they have received over the years. When they are home from America, they always come back to the club to give up their time to hit with the next generation of young players coming up behind them, which has a hugely inspiring effect.”
The club, in Ducks Hill Road, Northwood, has recently launched a new initiative VA Team, which offers facilities and coaching opportunities for talented young players ranked top 10 in their county or top 100 regionally.
n TRIUMPHANT: Josh Page (left) and Jack MacFarlane