WHEN James Seymour departed Bendigo as a teenager to play Premier Cricket, he did so with the aim of taking his game to the next level.
A decade on Seymour still has that same attitude - only now the next level is aspiring to play Sheffield Shield for Victoria.
Seymour's star is certainly on the rise in Premier Cricket with Essendon, which was proven last Friday night when he won the coveted Ryder Medal in a tie with Ringwood's David King on 28 votes.
Seymour's path to becoming a Ryder medallist began post the 2009-10 BDCA season when as an 18-year-old he sought to test himself at the Premier Cricket level with Essendon.
"Looking back now, I just wanted to try to be the best that I could. I never thought that I'd amount to anything too good because I wasn't a gun junior player or anything like that," Seymour said.
"In terms of making Victorian under-17 and under-19 squads, I was nowhere near making any of those sort of teams, so I just wanted to push myself and see how far I could go.
"The longer I've stuck at it and also played in competitions through winter to get that constant development has certainly been important.
"But in terms of that initial move from Bendigo, it was all about testing myself at the next level and seeing how far I can take my cricket, which is something I haven't given up on either."
Since departing Bendigo Seymour had a five-year stint with Essendon followed by one season at rival club Casey and one in Hobart, before three years back at Essendon where he has flourished as an opener.
Over his past three seasons all-rounder Seymour has churned out 2342 runs in Esendon's first XI, including 711 in his Ryder Medal-winning 2019-20.
"My first 60 games at Essendon I was batting in the middle-order and going OK without setting the world on fire, but when I moved to Casey to open I averaged about 40 and over my past three years back at Essendon I have averaged about 50 opening," Seymour said.
"So I've really enjoyed opening the batting."
With three solid seasons behind him back at Essendon, which bowed out of the 2019-20 finals in an elimination final loss to Carlton, Seymour hopes next season he can continue to push his case for a Victorian Sheffield Shield opportunity.
"I don't think I'm too far away... I've had some positive feedback from state selectors, but coming from outside the state squad is difficult," Seymour said.
"I'll just try to keep putting the runs on the board and see what happens, but obviously breaking into the Shield team would be the goal.
"I think I've shown in the Futures League competition that I can score runs against that calibre of player, so I'm confident I can mix it with those players, but it's just about getting an opportunity and then taking it."
Seymour was set to play cricket in the Netherlands with Rotterdam during the winter, but due to the coronavirus pandemic that competition has been cancelled.
However, Seymour is now hopeful of a return to the Northern Territory during the winter to play with Waratahs, as he has for the past six years, if the Darwin competition can start.
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