Robertson’s World Hopes Down the Toilet

Robert Milkins caused a major shock on Day six of the 2013 World Championship after he knocked out 2010 champion Neil Robertson 10-8 in Sheffield.

The Gloucester cueman had already dispatched of People’s Champion Jimmy White in the final qualifying round to reach the Crucible for the first time in eight years.

And the ‘Milkman’ delivered once again as he saw off a surprisingly lackluster display from his Australian opponent.

Robertson had started the match off confidently and even compiled the highest break of the tournament so far in the opening session with a coolly made 143 century.

But the form that brought the world no.2 the China Open only a few weeks ago completely deserted him as the pressure of the big stage became too intense.

In an error strewn affair, Milkins wasn’t anywhere near his best either but seemed to cope better under the difficult conditions – which was surprising given the fact that he has only once before been in the last 16 of the competition while Robertson was widely considered as the overall pre-tournament favourite.

When Robertson squared the clash at 8-8 with a break of 62, you would have fancied the Melbourne man to shift through the gears and rise to the occasion.

Yet, he faltered further in the following two frames and Milkins held on for a famous triumph.

One moment that I thought was very disappointing was in the penultimate frame when, with Robertson needing snookers, the 31 year-old asked for a toilet break mid-frame.

Now, if you’ve got to go you’ve go to go – nobody can have any qualms about this.

But this is by no means the first time that Robertson has asked for this inconvenient timeout at a crucial stage of a frame or match.

Indeed, it is becoming more and more common, which leads me to believe that it is a tactic – one in which I would be firmly against.

Of course, this is mere speculation, but the evidence seems too coincidental for there not to be some link.

At any rate, a huge amount of kudos must go in the direction of 37 year-old Milkins.

In my opinion, the Englishman has been the player of the season for those ranked outside the Top 16 – rising to a career high of 19 amid reaching the semi-finals of the World Open.

And what an opportunity there is for him and the other three competitors in that section of the draw.

Milkins goes on to play Ricky Walden while Michael White and Dechawat Poomjaeng began the opening session of their second round encounter yesterday to a scoreline of 7-1 in favour of the Welshman.

One of the quartet is guaranteed a semi-final berth and what an incredible achievement that would be for any one of them.

By the looks of things, 21 year-old White is immediately tempted by the prospect after opening up a commanding six frame cushion over new fan favourite ‘Jack’ Poomjaeng.

The first bout of action was an entertaining affair but will go down in history as one of the rare occasions when a player concedes a frame via the three-miss and you’re out rule.

Able to see reds, Dechawat needed the spider to make contact but failed on three occasions to hand the fourth frame to his opponent without any points scored.

Speaking of the 34 year-old, he certainly is dividing opinion.

The Thai’s antics and facial expressions around the table are endearing him to many but have proved a little too eccentric for others.

So long as he doesn’t interfere with the other player when he is on his own shot then I don’t really see any problem.

People generally complain that there are no characters in snooker – which is obviously completely false – but then when one comes around the same people are quick to criticise.

Either way, Poomjaeng has a lot of work to do if he wants to prolong his remarkable run this year.

In the last of the first round matches, Stuart Bingham demolished debutant Sam Baird 10-2 while in the other second round tie that got under way, Shaun Murphy fired in a brace of tons and a 99 break en route to an excellent 6-2 lead over fellow former world champ Graeme Dott.

That fixture will be played to a conclusion on Friday as one of them bids to be the first name in the quarter-finals.

Dott is as gritty a competitor as they come but in the last two sessions of snooker the ‘Magician’ has looked very good and could be a real threat come the business end of proceedings next week.

Elsewhere, Mark Selby and Barry Hawkins compete in a repeat of their 2012 last 32 encounter that was won by the latter.

Selby is in much better health this time around, though, and will of course start as the favourite to advance.

That said, Hawkins is no mug and enjoys a decent head-to-head against the world no.1 so that could be a close affair.

In the afternoon session, Judd Trump and Marco Fu contest their first session in an intriguing tie that could go either way if Hong Kong’s Fu can find a bit more consistency.

We’re now firmly into the best-of-25 setting, which means this year’s tournament is well and truly hotting up.

What excitement can we look forward to over the next week?

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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