Panthers in a fight for finals

James Nanopoulos took three wickets for Dandenong on Saturday. 224496

By Nick Creely

There’s no stopping James Seymour this season.

The Essendon star and reigning Ryder medalist has had another run-soaked campaign, and on Saturday the gun left-hander plundered another century, sending Dandenong outside of the top eight with a round left to play.

And, crucially, the Bombers are still within striking distance of playing finals cricket.

Seymour was the only batsmen to look comfortable in the vital clash at Windy Hill, providing the difference between both teams with not only the bat, but with the ball too.

After being sent into bat, the Bombers were struggling with champion Panther James Nanopoulos (3/33), who removed Aaron Ayre and Connor Rutland early to leave the home side vulnerable.

But despite making regular inroads, the Panthers couldn’t contain Seymour.

Playing a patient, yet commanding knock, the left-hander batted through the innings to score an unbeaten 108 not out, his knock coming off 150 balls with 14 boundaries.

It’s his third century of the season, all of them being unbeaten.

His knock lifted the Bombers to 6/223 from its 50 overs with the Panthers showing plenty of discipline with the ball, in particular Nanopoulos who was excellent with the new-ball.

Across Seymour’s season, he has compiled 820 runs at 102.5 – utterly absurd numbers – and in total has made a whopping 1190 runs at 79.33 in 2020/21.

He is not only knocking on the door of the Victorian selectors, he’s barging it down with some immense force.

It surely is a matter of time.

Despite a fighting hand from Pete Cassidy (30), and able support from Suraj Randiv (23) in the lower order, the Panthers couldn’t muster up much momentum, slumping to 7/76 before showing some fight to lift to 149.

Tom O’Donnell (2/27) impressed with the new-ball, removing champion openers Brett Forsyth and Tom Donnell quickly, while Cam McLure (2/30), James Seymour (2/11) and Liam Bowe (2/35) all made life difficult for the visitors through the middle.

The ninth-placed Panthers are still a strong chance to feature in the Victorian Premier Cricket finals with a win at home against Greenvale in the final round, but will also need to rely on results to go its way.

In the seconds, the Panthers also went down to the Bombers. Chasing 217 off the back of a haul of 4/30 from Dasun Opanayaka, the home team were rolled for 188, with Andrey Fernando continuing his strong form with a classy 70.