Just as the Commonwealth Games kick off in Manchester at the end of this month, so Peterlee will become the centre of its own unique international sporting event.

For the first time ever one of the qualifying rounds of the European Cadette Women's Basketball Championships is being held in Peterlee.

The tournament is coming to Peterlee because of a generous sponsorship agreement between East Durham and Houghall Community College and Easington District Council and offers a unique opportunity which basketball enthusiasts should not miss.

The action begins at 4pm on Friday, July 26 at Easington District Sports Centre in Peterlee with a game in which the host country, England, will line up against the tournament favourites Spain.

That game will be followed by an opening ceremony and a second game at 6.30pm between the two other nations taking part, Belgium and Finland.

Further games will take place at the same times on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 and the whole competition will be rounded off with a closing ceremony scheduled for 7.50pm on that final Sunday evening.

Detailed information about the tournament will soon be reaching local schools, youth clubs and sports clubs, but anyone interested in basketball should make a note in their diaries now so as not to miss any of the action.

Entry to the games will be no more that £1 and the tournament organisers are hoping that a noisy and enthusiastic crowd will boost England's chance of successfully reaching the Challenge Round of the championships which take place at Easter in 2003.