Robert Milkins was a delighted man after capturing the Welsh Open title on Sunday at the Venue Cymru in Llandudno.
The Milkman delivered the goods when it mattered most during his 9-7 final defeat of fellow Englishman Shaun Murphy.
Following a title-decider with remarkably high stakes, Milkins not only takes home the £80,000 Welsh Open top prize but also a £150,000 bonus for winning the BetVictor Series.
The champion’s cheque from the Home Nations tournament took Milkins’ tally from the eight-event swing this season above that of Ali Carter’s, securing by far and away the biggest payday of his 28-year career.
More lucrative opportunities will come from this weekend’s success, including invitations to this next’s Players Championship, the upcoming Tour Championship, and next season’s Champion of Champions.
Milkins additionally returns to the top 16 in the world rankings for the first time since 2015 and is provisionally in a strong position to qualify automatically for the World Championship.
This time twelve months ago, the 46 year-old was suffering during the worst period of his career amid poor form and off-table issues.
But Milkins bounced back by winning his maiden ranking title at the Gibraltar Open last March, and he has been one of the most consistent performers on the main tour since.
“Unbelievable. It won’t sink in really until, I don’t know, probably a couple of weeks time,” Robert Milkins told the World Snooker Tour.
“I can’t believe I’ve won that and won the bonus as well. It was a struggle all day, I was fighting my emotions.”
“I wasn’t playing to how I want to play, but at the end I did play okay. I dug in and I’m really proud of myself that I made a couple of nice little 60s in that evening session – I’m chuffed to bits.
“My B-game is pretty good. When things aren’t going well I can scrap it out now, whereas that’s probably the difference to back in the day when I probably couldn’t.
“I didn’t really have that B-game, but it’s come from nowhere really and it helps me out a lot.
“We were pretty much as bad as each other, but I just think that maybe tactically I was a little bit better than him.
“That’s probably the only difference, because obviously he’s a brilliant long potter and he scores heavier than me.
“He weren’t really doing that. He got in a few times (but) missed the boat, he didn’t punish you like he normally does.
“(This victory) has opened a lot of doors. It’s not going to sink in yet, but I’ve got a lot of snooker to play for the rest of the season, that’s for sure.
“Obviously with Gibraltar, it was the first and sort of kicked it all off. This week is the biggest week of my life on the table.
“I probably won’t get another one like this week, I have to savour it all – I’m just really, really happy.”
The Welsh Open final was an often scrappy affair with neither Robert Milkins or Shaun Murphy able to gain the initiative.
Several frames, particularly in the afternoon session, could have gone either way – a story that was perhaps reflected by the scores being tied at 4-4.
After the pair shared the opening two frames upon the evening’s resumption, Milkins won a pivotal eleventh frame with a respotted black.
He subsequently won the next as well to move two frames in front for the first time at 7-5, and Murphy was never able to get back on level terms again.
The Magician, who compiled a 147 break earlier in the tournament, twice returned to just one behind with runs of 114 and 64.
But a brace of 64 contributions from Milkins, including a nerveless effort in the last frame considering the circumstances, ensured it was his name being etched onto the Ray Reardon Trophy.
Featured photo credit: WST