More than 1,100 pubs – one in every three Punch outlets - have entered the 2014 competition, the first stage of which will begin next Monday (12 May), where each pub will play at home and away.
The teams with the best average scores will compete in regional finals. The remaining 32 teams will then battle it out at the national finals, which will take place in October at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. The total prize fund for the day is £17,000, with the winning Pub Darts Team claiming £2,500.
Punch category manager Stephen Martin said he is “overwhelmed” by the number of pubs that have entered this year’s competition, which has been running for more than a decade.
“We are always looking for ways to help our Partners build their business and free pub events like these are a great way to drive footfall on quieter week nights. As games are played at home and away, all Punch participating pubs get the benefit from additional footfall,” he said.
The pub company is also running a plate competition for darts teams who lose in either round one or round two of the main Punch Darts Classic competition. The regional winners will each win a professional player in their pub with a free £250 bar tab for the evening as well as new darts equipment.
Paddy Lenagh, team captain from last year’s winning team at The Avenue in Durham, said: “We love taking part in the Punch Darts Classic as it’s the best darts competition around. It’s great to see how the competition evolves and the standards are raised year on year.
“Last year we saw some teams travel from as far as Stirling and Brighton to compete at the national finals in Blackpool. The skill and talent some of these players have ensures competition to be fierce.”