YOUNGSTERS in the region have the chance to follow in the footsteps of some of their cricketing heroes.

We have teamed up with Durham County Cricket Club to organise a knockout tournament for under-15 teams from schools throughout the region.

The final will be the centrepiece of a festival of schools cricket to be staged at Durham's Riverside ground in Chester-le-Street on July 11. The winning school will win £300 to be spent on sports equipment, with the runner-up, earning £200.

This gives children the chance to play on the same ground as Durham, English cricket's newest first-class county; the same ground which this summer will play host to a one-day international between Australia and Pakistan, in a repeat of the 1999 World Cup Final.

The Northern Echo has played a key role in developing youth cricket in the region since the birth of Durham as a first-class county.

And a competition to find the best schools cricket team in the region will bolster efforts to get cricket played by as many children as possible.

All schools have to do is fill in the entry form and send it off to us by April 20.

Full details of the draw will appear in Local Heroes on Friday, April 27.

An information pack will be sent to all competing schools and updates on the competition will appear every Friday in Local Heroes throughout the summer.