THIS year's BIG Smash knockout competition and league promise to be the biggest of their kind to date.

Held at Dalton Cricket Club and Askam Bowling Greens on Sunday May 27, the BIG Smash will see 28 players from across the UK battling it out for a prize of £2,000 and the coveted title.

The runner-up will collect a fantastic £1,200 and the top 32 players will also be paid out in prize money.

Many of the UK’s top players will once again be in attendance, with Greg Smith, Gary Ellis, Callum Wraight and Matt Gilmore coming to the area to rub shoulders with top Cumbrian players such as Andy Thornton, Ian Nicholson, Martin Gilpin and Barry Lowden.

It will also be interesting to see how the previous three BIG Smash champions perform, with Danny Ferris, Gareth Jones and the reigning champ Matty Stewart all competing.

The organisers believe it is a competition any of the 128 could win give its exciting format.

Play will start at 8.45am and there will be music all day, the bar will be open and great refreshments provided by Browns of Lindal.

Admission is free and spectators will have the chance to win cash and other prizes in the The Crowd Cash Challenge.

Meanhwile, the The BIG Smash League is also back for its second season and has doubled in size.

A total of 16 players willn take part over eight rounds of fixtures over the summer and then the Grand Finals night on Thursday August 30 will see the top eight will battle it out for the title.

Favourites for the title include reigning league champion Gareth Jones, Andy Thornton and Ian Nicholson.

The league will be streamed online each fixture night so if you cannot get down to soak up the atmosphere at Dalton CC you can still watch the play online. More than 400,000 people watched the action online last year.

The BIG Smash team are putting the final touches in place for both events and co-founder Neil Jones said: “2018 is going to be fantastic. 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 2019 which again will be bigger and better!”

The BIG Smash team would like to thank their fantastic partners for the event, Ross Estate Agency, Andy Rigg Carpets, The Old Vicarage, Brathay Lodge, Progression Solicitors, Chequers Hotel & Steakhouse, MGL Group, Paul Rawlinson at Barrow Golf Club, Driving Sales, Harry Barker Properties, Job Vacancies Direct, Huddle Hub, RFM Accountants, Sports Betting Syndicate, L&D Decorating, Strategic Placements, Charnleys Home & Garden, Stan & Kate Jones, Virginia House, Cumbria Training Centre, Market Street House, The Bridge Inn, Joe Murphy Flooring, Auto Diesel Technics, The Black Dog, Blake Henderson, CJS Decorating and bowls equipment and clothing manufacturer – Drakes Pride.