It was a positive week for Robert Milkins who made an important leap up a couple of snooker rankings lists after winning the Welsh Open.
The Milkman beat Shaun Murphy 9-7 to claim the Ray Reardon Trophy at the Venue Cymru in Llandudno on Sunday.
Not only did Milkins collect the top prize worth £80,000, but he also pocketed a £150,000 bonus for finishing in first place on the 2022/23 BetVictor Series standings.
While the latter jackpot won’t have any influence on the snooker rankings, Milkins is still in a much stronger position than before.
Official World Snooker Tour rankings
Capturing the Welsh Open title came just a couple of weeks after reaching the semi-finals of the German Masters in Berlin for Milkins.
That level of consistency has helped the 46 year-old rejoin the world’s top 16 in the official two-year rankings for the first time since 2015.
The provisional seeding positions for the World Championship have the Englishman in 15th spot, so a guaranteed return to the Crucible Theatre looks to be on the cards.
Mark Williams and Kyren Wilson were the only other movers in the elite bracket, with the pair exchanging places in seventh and eighth.
Ronnie O’Sullivan remains the world number one ahead of Mark Selby in second and Mark Allen in third.
Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, and John Higgins round off the top six despite none of them experiencing particularly strong seasons in ranking events this term.
Speaking of the Race to the Crucible, one prominent player who may be forced into the qualifiers is former World Championship runner-up Barry Hawkins.
The Hawk remains 15th on the official standings, but with a lot of prize money coming off his tally in the next month or so, he is set to slip outside the top 16.
Further down, it’s nearing crunch time in the race for survival on the main tour with only the WST Classic open to everyone on the calendar before all roads lead to Sheffield.
Probably the most notable figure in jeopardy at the moment is English veteran Mark Davis, who has slipped down to number 66 and below the crucial top 64 cut-off point for survival.
In the provisional end-of-season standings, the 50 year-old is way down in 72nd so he needs a big finish to the campaign in order to prolong his long professional career.
Race to the Tour Championship
The 16 players who qualified for the Players Championship were determined after the conclusion of the Welsh Open.
The one-year snooker rankings will also be used to determine the eight competitors who will participate in next month’s prestigious Tour Championship.
While not mathematically guaranteed to feature at the Bonus Arena in Hull just yet, Milkins has risen to fourth and is looking strong.
Mark Allen continues to lead the way having accumulated more than half a million pounds in prize money from his displays in ranking tournaments during this campaign.
Ryan Day, Kyren Wilson, Ali Carter, Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, and Luca Brecel are the others currently in the top eight.
Each player from the chasing pack is involved in this week’s Players Championship which carries a hefty prize fund, so along with the WST Classic there is still time for the order to change.
Featured photo credit: WST