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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A test of Wills - Boone's Lick Park


On a sunny September day we headed to St. Charles to try a court at Boone's Lick Park.    Boone's Lick Park is named after Boone's Lick road which is the first major road into the heart of the State of Missouri.   It originated in St. Charles and ended at Boone's Salt Lick near New Franklin, Missouri.  At Boone's Lick salt was processed in a furnace.   Why was salt important?  Here is a link that will tell you more about Salt's history and significance http://bit.ly/1fCuwJw .

St. Louis is home to the Gunther Salt Company owned by a family of excellent tennis players!  Boone's Lick road became the predecessor to Highway 70 the primary East/West Interstate which runs through Missouri connecting St. Louis and Kansas City. The Park itself is located just off Boone's Lick Road and features a solitary court, restrooms, bbq grill and a picnic shelter.

On to the court.   The tennis court appeared to be in great shape other than the surface has not been repainted in some time.   Net in good shape and no major cracks.  Like most public courts we play there was no net strap installed.   We really like playing on these single courts because it really cuts down on chasing stray balls which occasionally fly off of our rackets.   As we began to hit we noticed the bounces were true but the court played fast and the ball seemed to stay low to the court on the bounce.

The match started well for Stan as he was consistent and  Scott failed to take advantage of several easy volley opportunities.    In no time at all Stan was leading 4-1 in the first set punctuated by a fantastic inside out drop shot.   Scott with his back against the wall started hitting his volley's and pushing his forehand deeper into Stan's court.   Minutes later the match stood tied at 4-4 as Stan now missed an easy volley to allow Scott to tie the set.   Scott's hopes were dashed as Stan then broke his serve and held his own hitting a beautiful backhand down the line winner to take the set 6-4.

Scott was not happy about this development and really started taking more chances to start the second set.  By hitting the ball harder and taking control of the points he was able to turn the tables and roll out to a 4-1 lead.  Stan had no choice but to ride out the fusillade from Scott and to focus on getting everything back and making Scott hit one extra ball.   The strategy worked and now it was Stan's turn to fight back.   He pulled back to 4-4 and then won his serve at love for a 5-4 lead.

Scott managed to slow the momentum by holding serve to tie the set 5-5.   Stan's service game was a battle.  After several break points Scott had Stan in trouble and Stan threw up a desperation lob high to Scott's backhand.   Scott knew he had to hit it in the air and the result was an impossible cross court drop shot winner.   Scott was now in the catbirds seat with a 6-5 lead serving for the set.  Even better he won the next three points to go up 40 love and earn three set points.

The next two points Stan won by drop shotting and then lobbing over Scott's head.  On the third set point Scott was determined to take the set and got Stan on the run forcing Stan to lob.  Scott hit an overhead,  Stan got it and threw up another lob,   Scott pounded it down the line to take the set..... wait... it hit the net cord and fell back on Scott's side.   Deuce game.   Stan tied the set by hitting a cross court winner and drawing a backhand error from Scott.

Whew, what a set.   Time for a tiebreaker.    Scott wins the first three points for a 3-0 lead.  Stan turns it around and heads out to a 6-4 lead and two match points.   Scott missed his first serve and tossed in a second serve and survived a hard fought point to go to 5-6.    Stan got Scott in trouble on the second match point and Scott saved it with a ridiculous backhand dropshot from the baseline to tie at 6-6.   Amazingly Scott fights to an 8-7 lead and a fourth set point.    Somehow Stan wins the next three points for a 10-8 tiebreaker win and a 6-4,7-6 match win.

We loved this court and rate it a 9 for condition and 10 for location for a 9.5 score.   It is also near two great attractions;  The Katy Trail and Old Town St. Charles.   Historic Main Street in St. Charles has over 50 restaurant options to choose from after your match.