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Welsh Snooker Open: Review

There’s “milking it” and now there’s “Milkins it” and few people in snooker would deny the new Welsh Open champion deserved a few quid.

Robert Milkins – who was so broke a year ago that he considered giving the sport up – is the new Cymru King, crowned in a Sunday night ceremony in Llandudno.

The Milkman beat Shaun Murphy, 9-7, in the final to become champion in the biggest victory of his career, earning his most valuable cheque – one written out for a cool £230,000.

That comprises of a top prize of £80,000 for the title and a further £150,000 for securing top spot in the eight-match BetVictor series ranking, to go along with the Ray Reardon Trophy.

“It’s unreal – that’s a lot of money to me,” said 47-year-old Milkins, whose only other ranking tournament win was the Gibraltar Open last year.

“Gibraltar was brilliant but beating Shaun in a final is the icing on the cake. You have to play well to beat Shaun,” added Milkins, who struggled with mental health issues after the death of his sister two years ago which followed the death of his parents.

Milkins will now go straight from North Wales to Wolverhampton to take part in the Players Championship, where he plays Tom Ford on Tuesday night.

Milkins has been playing professional snooker since 1995, but has never hit the heights he reached on Sunday.

Regarded as a journeyman figure from Gloucester, whose walk-on tune is I am a Cider Drinker by The Wurzels, Milkins is now finally at the elite end of the sport.

But in the past he suffered financial problems, was once evicted from his flat, and was fined for drunken behaviour at the Turkish Masters last summer when he ended up hospital with a split chin.

But the reaction of his fellow professionals to his Welsh Open win proved that The Milkman remains a popular figure in the sport.

Mark Selby tweeted: “Congratulations to @robmilkins147 good things happen to good people. Rob is one of the most genuine guys you will ever meet! Enjoy it bud”

And Mark Allen posted: “couldn’t be happier for you mate. Truly one of the good guys finally reaping the rewards for the years of hard graft. Enjoy every moment champ”

The victory has brought Milkins back into the world’s top 16 players. The most he had previously earned in an entire season was £139,000.

In the final, Milkins had fallen behind 3-1 initially, but he won the next three frames to take the lead for the first time.

He then won three of the first four frames of the evening to go 7-5 ahead at the mid-session interval.

Milkins won a tense 11th frame on a respotted black, and at 8-6 down, Murphy made a superb break of 114, the only century break of the match.

However, Milkins responded with a break of 64 to secure his second ranking title.

Harlow-born Murphy, who won the World Championship in 2005 and has not won a ranking title since the 2020 Welsh Open in Cardiff, was gracious in defeat.

“I made far too many unforced errors. I couldn’t have tried any harder,” he said.

“All credit to Rob, he was by far the better player. He fully deserved the victory.”

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