FOR many codes, those who wish to progress to an elite level, there's an air of inevitability about moving to a major centre to improve one's chances.
Not so, it seems, in cricket with Bradley Schmulian cutting a track from Auckland to provincial Hawke's Bay for the same desired effect.
"I couldn't achieve my goal in Auckland," says the 26-year-old Auckland A representative, who played through every age-group level there.
"It wasn't an easy decision to move down but something had to be done," says the allrounder, who isn't sure why Auckland doesn't see him as part of their equation during the 2015-16 domestic campaign.
Schmulian put his feelers out to the Central Districts major association and got some positive vibes.
"CD's shown more clarity in what to expect and improve" says the right-hand top/middle-order batsman who can offer a legspin option.
As it turned out, the Bayleys Real Estate Havelock North CC premier club were looking for an overseas player so CD pointed him in their direction.
"It's a fantastic club so I'm getting on quite well with the boys," he says, enjoying a win and loss with the Derek Stirling-coached team.
The former East Coast Bays CC member is coaching club juniors while working part-time at the Shoe Clinic in Napier.
Stepping outside his comfort zone is something Schmulian has been thinking about for two years.
In 2012-13 he was selected to play for the Auckland Aces' four-day Plunket Shield side against the Canterbury Kings but, unfortunately, was named the travelling 12th man.
"One or two injuries [broken wrist in 2013-14] haven't helped my cause in terms of timing," he says, finding it a struggle to take his legspin to a higher level.
He picked up the frustrating injury after someone ankle tapped him and he braced his fall during a routine warm up before a cricket match.
It seems his move to the Villagers is already paying dividends for the Cape Town-born player who arrived in Auckland as a 9-year-old with elder sister Nicole, 29 now, when parents Rod and Natalie Schmulian emigrated for a "safer lifestyle" and more opportunities for their children.
He still loves to visit his birthplace to catch up with family and friends.
Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's representative coach Colin Schaw injected him into the middle order to provide stability, for other stroke makers to work around him, for a solid innings during a Labour Day weekend of red and white-ball Hawke Cup dress rehearsal matches in Tauranga.
"I'm very excited playing for Hawke's Bay as it was a goal of mine so it was nice making my debut."
He scored 42 runs in the 50-over match and took 2-28.
It's a role that sits comfortably with him, something he performed through the age groups ,as well as with Auckland A.
He rates Ruahine Central Hawke's Bay and Bay representative legspinner GC Pretorius highly.
"GC is exceptional cricketer so I'm not competing with him," he says of the South African import.
In just a few games at the red-ball 110-over Property Brokers premier club competition he finds the standard high here, on a par with Auckland.
"We play the first two rounds in Auckland on artificial pitches so the grass here is a big advantage," says the allrounder, who enjoyed the great atmosphere of representing Whanganui as a guest player in the annual Chapple Cup one-day Central Districts inter-district tournament at Nelson Park, Napier, earlier this month.
He acknowledges Matt Edmonson's fine start to the summer with a gritty resolve for the Bay in the Chapple Cup.
Schmulian isn't averse to playing cricket all year round. In the past few summers he has played for Oxford in Darwin, Australia.
In today's round of the Property Brokers Premier Men's 50 overs games Havelock North will be hosted by Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall at Cornwall Park, The Station Napier Old Boys Marist will take on Big Barrel Napier Technical Old Boys at Nelson Park 3 and Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay will host You Travel Taradale at Forest Gate Domain, Onga Onga.