This week we were able to scour the area and find a location for our first match in Jefferson County. Arnold City Park is an extensive park along the banks of the Meramec River. It contains just one tennis court that has truly been forgotten. The single court stands lonely near the park entrance. The court often floods and had been underwater approximately one week before our match. Park maintenance crews had it cleaned off although some mud residue remained and river debris accumulated along the fence. The court was extensively cracked and the surfacing was beginning to pull up in several areas. The net as we often find on forgotten courts had no net-strap.
Our match today was unusual as we added a guest player. Jimmy Walley a well known local 4.5 rated USTA player. The format was Scott, Stan and Jimmy each play each other a set and the player with the best winning percentage would be declared the winner.
Scott and Jimmy went first. Jimmy is a very unorthodox player and Scott has always had trouble and in fact has never beaten Jimmy in past matches. Scott won the toss and got out to a good start going up 40-love on his serve. Jimmy tenacious as always responded with a cross court winner, a drop-shot winner and then an amazing ball that climbed over the net-strap and dropped on Scott's side to tie the game at deuce. Scott fought off this challenge with an ace and closed out the game with a cross-court winner.
After that game Scott went on a roll and stormed out to a 5-0 lead threatening to give Jimmy a bagel. Jimmy served at 0-5 and won his service game at love. Scott closed out the next game and was sitting pretty good with a 6-1 victory in the first round.
Second match was Stan vs Jimmy. Jimmy frustrated at his loss to Scott really took it to Stan as the set started. Jimmy rolled out to a 4-1 lead and looked to be in control. At this point the cracks on the court became a factor. Jimmy hit two balls to Stan that took crazy bounces and looked like sure winners somehow Stan got both back and won both points. Stan leveraged that momentum and then won 5 games in a row to steal the set from Jimmy.
Scott vs Stan for the braggin' rights. Scott won the toss and promptly stopped Stan's five game winning streak and went out to a 1-0 lead. Stan was determined to continue his winning ways and reeled off another five games in a row. Scott knew he was in trouble as Stan was now on a 10 out of the last eleven game winning streak.
Scott served at 1-5 and in desperation took pace off of his serves to force Stan to use his own pace.... temporarily it worked and Scott got the game to get to 2-5. Stan served and went up 40-15. Scott fought off the first match point. Stan had had enough and fired off a sharply angled ace to Scott's backhand side to win the match and the title of the Jefferson County Shootout!
The location of the courts rated an 8 and the condition a 4 for an average of 6. Although we had really very few problems playing on the courts as far as bad bounces. Local restaurant chain Bandana's was nearby and we stopped by for lunch afterwards.