Kreft honours father with success

Marty Kreft has booked a place at the world championship indoor singles in England in January...
Marty Kreft has booked a place at the world championship indoor singles in England in January after winning in Invercargill on Sunday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Marty Kreft honoured his father in the best way he could.

He won the world indoor singles title at the national PBA finals in Invercargill on Sunday and booked a spot at the world championship indoor singles at Potters Resort in England in January.

His father, former All Black Tony Kreft, died in Dunedin on Friday aged 78.

Kreft senior played five games for the All Blacks, including one test. He also played 59 games for Otago from 1966 to 1971.

"It was a pretty tough 48 hours," Marty Kreft said yesterday.

"But Dad had already told us he wanted us to carry on competing if we were up for it.

"My other brother ended up staying in France to watch the All Blacks play and he is winging his way home now."

Kreft, who plays for the St Clair Bowling Club, took some good form into the national finals but produced a patchy performance in Invercargill.

"To be fair, I played better in Dunedin [at the regional finals] and found the Waverley surface testing compared with what we are used to in Dunedin.

"I was scratching around all weekend but played the bowls at the right time to sneak through each time.

"Losing the first set 14-0 to Aidan Zittersteijn was probably the best set I played even though I didn’t score a point."

Kreft bounced back to win the next set 10-9 and the tiebreaker 2-1. He then beat Invercargill’s Kerry Heffer in the semifinal. That came down to the tiebreaker as well.

Auckland’s Dave Clark got off to a promising start in the final. He won the first set 10-5, but Kreft took the second set 8-5 and tiebreaker 2-1 to clinch the title.

The world championship will be a big challenge for Kreft.

Marlene Castle is the only New Zealander to reach the top step of the singles podium. She lifted the women’s world title in 2000.

"It will be tough. But the beauty of bowls is you can play the best in the world and, on your day, you might upset them and beat them.

"You just keep putting the bowls in handy spots and anything can happen."

Kreft said his dad "will be in his mind the whole time, that’s for sure".

"He was definitely more that just a father. He was a good mate and he backed us boys in everything we did, especially with sport."