THE county's top crown green bowlers will be returning to the area again next month when the expanded third edition of the BIG Smash takes place.

The greens at Dalton Cricket Club and Askam will once more play host to the event, with Hawcoat Park being added as a third venue due to the field expanding from 128 players to 256.

The winner of this year's tournament will take home £2,000 and excitement is already building for the organisers ahead of the competition on Sunday, May 26.

"This year is going to be fantastic," said BIG Smash co-founder Neil Jones. "If you have never watched the sport, come on down to take it all in.

"The modern format brings a new excitement to the sport and we have seen our audience grow each year.

"This is down to how the competition has been taken to the hearts of the players and spectators and the continuing partnerships with our sponsors.

"We are already planning 2020, which again will be bigger and better."

Last year's champion, Shropshire bowler Callum Wraight, will be back to defend his title along with a host of other top crown green exponents from across the country. They will be joined by Cumbrians including Andy Thornton, Ian Nicholson, Martin Gilpin and Barry Lowden.

Players who reach the top 32 will all win prize money and last year's BIG Smash saw the runner-up walk away with £1,200.

Play commences at 8.45am on the day and there will be music all day, the bar will be open and great refreshments provided by Browns of Lindal. The Crowd Cash Challenge will return too, giving spectators the chance to win cash and other prizes.

This year will see the third season of the BIG Smash League too, which features 16 players in seven rounds of matches and concludes with a Grand Finals night for the top eight in the table on August 15 at Dalton.

Both the league and the one-day tournament are streamed live on Youtube and in 2018 over 400,000 people watched.

The BIG Smash team thanked fantastic partners Parker Technical Services, Ross Estate Agency, Andy Rigg Carpets, The Old Vicarage at Ireleth, Brathay Lodge, MGL Group, Paul Rawlinson at Barrow Golf Club, Driving Sales, Harry Barker Properties, Job Vacancies Direct, Huddle Hub, RFM Accountants, BVS Nuclear Ltd, First Class Properties, Wardgroup, Greaves Tree Services, Sports Betting Syndicate, L&D Decorating, Stan & Kate Jones, The Bridge Inn, Joe Murphy Flooring, Auto Diesel Technics, Blake Henderson, CJS Decorating and Drakes Pride.