IT is every schoolboy's dream. To take guard at the same crease where Brian Lara once stood. To stand behind the stumps at the very spot where Alec Stewart crouched. To run up to the wicket on the ground where Darren Gough and Andrew Caddick thundered in for England.

With The Northern Echo/Local Heroes Under-15s cricket competition their dreams can become reality.

We are inviting schools from across the North-East and North Yorkshire to enter our competition to find the finest team of young cricketers in the region.

The knockout competition will culminate in a festival of schools cricket to be held at Durham County's Riverside Ground, in Chester-le-Street, on Wednesday July 11.

Both semi-finals will be held in the morning, with the final as the highlight of the afternoon's programme.

John Windows, Durham's Cricket Development Officer, welcomed the addition of the competition to the schools cricket programme.

"Cricket is very much on the up. The game is being played in more schools and by more children than ever.

"The England Test team is enjoying great success at the moment. We want to capitalise on this success to encourage more young people to take up the game.

"Standards in schools cricket are improving all the time. I am sure this competition will demonstrate the depth of cricketing talent we have in this part of the world.

"I hope will be see in action some of cricket's future stars, who will go on to play for Durham and perhaps go on to play for England.

"It is our long-term aim to nurture young people through the schools, through the clubs, into the county team and eventually into the Test match arena."

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

An information pack will be sent to all competing schools.

Updates on the competition will appear every Friday in Local Heroes throughout the summer.