IT TAKES intestinal fortitude to pack one's bags to jet off about 12,000km from a bustling capital city to settle on a speck somewhere in Hawke's Bay.
Giliam Christoffel (GC) Pretorius did just that on September 31, winging out of his comfort zone in Pretoria to a farming village called Tikokino in Central Hawke's Bay.
The carrot for Pretorius - to play and co-coach Ruahine Motors Ford Central Hawke's Bay premier men's cricket team.
"Opportunities in South Africa are fewer because of the quota system," says the 24-year-old right-arm leg spinner before CHB's opening Property Brokers one-day match against Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall in Hastings today from 11am.
"It's getting bad so a lot of people have to look overseas."
His passion for cricket has no boundaries so to build a career Pretorius was ready to leave behind his parents, builder Christo Pretorius and former schoolteacher Gerda, sister Amorie, 29, a real estate agent, and brother Jaco, 26, a quantity surveyor, as well as his girlfriend of two years, Linique Hanekom, a speech therapist.
CHB has struck a chord with him to the extent that he is prepared to pitch a tent here for good.
"I would like to stay here, to emigrate here for a proper cricket career someday," he says, keen for Hanekom to join him should she find employment.
From his newfound little haven emanates a certain warmth and sense of security.
"It's a lot safer, people are nice and they care about you, especially Colin [Schaw] and the team who have helped me.
"I love the country. New Zealand, you know, is something like a paradise that you want to raise your family in."
Pretorius played first-class (three-day) cricket for Easterns semi-professionally and had a brief stint under Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags coach Heinrich Malan when he coached there three years ago.
He also conducts training sessions for the Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's representative team that Schaw coaches.
"I'd love to play for the Stags and the Black Caps, if things are going really well."
The Bay premier men's competitions are "not a bad level" but with players returning from university he expects it to be humming.
He feels the standard of fielding is an area that can improve considerably.
The injection of talented youth in the Bay senior men's rep team is a step in the right direction.
CHB have had a good start in the modified 55-over competition that ended last Saturday but it's imperative they "bat through 50 overs and field" slickly from today to raise the bar high during the one-day competition and beyond.
The country-siders, who slipped to fourth position in their whites, will not be lulled into a position of complacency because Cornwall finishes last without a win.
They are mindful the hosts, dedicating this summer to their former coach, the late Mike Shrimpton, boast a formidable batting line-up and they won't want captain Alex Roberts' men to find their mojo today.
In other games today, newly crowned 55-over Property Brokers modified champions Bayleys Real Estate Havelock North will host United Travel Taradale at Anderson Park in defending their 2014-15 one-day crown while Nelson Park No 3 will become the cauldron for the Napier derby between The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist and Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys.