RINGWOOD pair Lee Croad and Peter Ward led an impressive local charge at the 96th Bournemouth Open – but two visiting stars turned on the style in the battle for the prestigious singles prize.

Apart from one blip in the weather on Tuesday, the sun shone on the competitors for the well-attended and popular showpiece event.

Croad and Ward played their part in two of the disciplines and left the Boscombe Cliff-hosted finals day with their share of the silverware.

There was also notable success for Sylvia Postill (Richmond Park) and Julia Eatwell (Poole Park) in the women’s tournament based at Moordown.

However, in the Blue Riband event, the men’s singles, it was the visiting Peck Orchard of Aspatria who landed the top title following a 21-15 victory over Steven Richardson (Castle Douglas).

Orchard was presented with the Chamber of Trade and Commerce Trophy and the Melborne Cup by the Mayor of Bournemouth, Councillor Dr Rodney Cooper. He also picked up a winners’ cheque for £1,500.

Orchard and Richardson treated a bumper crowd to a top-class display of bowling and after trailing 13-8, Orchard landed the crown by winning all but two of the next 11 ends.

In the semi-finals, Orchard had registered a last-end 22-20 win over Boscombe Cliff’s Chris Daniels, while Richardson had finished strongly to overcome Carlisle Subscription’s Rick Gallagher (21-13).

There was plenty to cheer supporters of the Dorset and Hampshire clubs, though.

In the pairs final, Croad and Ward faced up to the duo of two-times singles champion Scott Edwards (Hove and Kingsway) and Nicky Jones (Boscombe Cliff).

The 20th end proved to be pivotal as, with the scores level at 16-16, Jones picked up five shots after removing the opposition’s two shot woods.

Edwards and Jones completed a 21-16 victory and collected the Ernest Dean Challenge Cup and a cheque for £500 from Sponsor Sara Uzell of Bowlaway.

However, there was plenty of compensation for Croad and Ward in the triples final as, together with Craig Paterson (Boscombe Cliff), they survived a stern test from Rick Gallagher, Mark Nanson (Carlisle Subscription) and Stephen Delucchi (Courtfield) to capture the Ivor Challenge Bowl and £300 in prize money.

The victors took six shots on the 10th end to establish a 15-8 lead and eventually ran out 19-13 winners after surviving a late flourish from the visitors.

In the mixed pairs final, the home crowd were treated to a Boscombe Cliff triumph as 2009-10 winners Julie Hudson and Chris Daniels recorded a comfortable 25-16 victory over 2011 champions Sylvia Postill (Richmond Park) and Steven Richardson (Castle Douglas).

The Cliff duo did not take the lead until the seventh end but never looked troubled from that point on and, for the third time, received the James King Challenge Vase and a cheque for £250.

Meanwhile, in the women’s tournament based at Moordown, many local bowlers featured in the final stages.

But the star performer turned out to be regular visitor Caroline Richardson (Dalbeattie), who just missed out on a clean sweep of all three ladies’ titles, which were sponsored by Coleman Insurance Brokers. Reigning champ Richardson’s only failure came in the singles, where Poole Park’s 2010 winner Julia Eatwell triumphed 22-13 to reclaim her crown. Eatwell received the trophy and a cheque for £400.

In the pairs final, Caroline Richardson teamed up with Sylvia Postill (Richmond Park) to face Pearl Shepheard (Swanmore) and Caroline Wilson (Poole Park).

Postill and Richardson were in deadly form and quickly piled up a 24-1 lead. At this point, the contenders called it a day, leaving Richardson and Postill to collect the title and the winners’ cheque for £200.

Richardson and Postill were joined by Jean Beedie (Richmond Park) in the triples contest. Their opponents were the Moordown trio of Barbara Roles, Gillian Barron and Cathy France. The Moordown rink was well in contention with the score at 13-13 after 16 ends.

But then Richardson collected three shots to claim the crown and the £150 prize.