Shaun Murphy's Stunning Red Hotshot! | 2023 Duelbits Tour Championship

Milkins Maintains Winning Feeling

Man of the moment Robert Milkins admitted that the thought of defeat was a distant one this evening, as he kept up his momentum with a 6-5 win over Tom Ford at the Duelbits Players Championship in Wolverhampton.

The Gloucester cueman enjoyed the biggest moment of his career on Sunday, when he claimed his second ranking title after defeating Shaun Murphy 9-7 in the final of the Welsh Open. Following this evening’s deciding frame win he said: “When you are winning, it is hard to lose.”

Milkins scooped a huge £230,000 payout following his triumph in Llandudno, which included a £150,000 BetVictor Series Bonus. He’s now certain to be present for the upcoming Duelbits Tour Championship in Hull and is looking good to secure his place in the world’s top 16 and automatically qualify for the World Championship.

Next up this week Milkins faces an intriguing quarter-final showdown with the man he pipped to that bonus, Ali Carter. The pair met in the semi-finals of the recent German Masters. On that occasion Carter won out 6-5 and went on to claim the title.

Ford was the losing finalist in Berlin and suffered more disappointment this evening, with Milkins edging through in a final frame.

Runs of 62 and 70 helped Milkins into an early 2-1 lead this evening, but Ford pegged him back just before the mid-session and restored parity at 2-2.

When play resumed the standard went up and notch and the pair engaged in a break building battle. Milkins took the fifth to regain the lead, before a break of 68 saw Ford draw level again at 3-3.

The recently crowned Welsh Open champion edged back in front with a break of 53. However, Leicester’s Ford replied with 71 in the eighth to make it 4-4. Milkins then moved one from the win, only for Ford to force a decider with a contribution of 60.

It had looked as if Ford was going to take the lead for the first time at the vital moment, but he missed an easy red to the middle when leading 36-0. Milkins clinically punished that mistake with a break of 74 to secure the 6-5 victory.

“I don’t know what has happened. Like I say, when you are winning it is hard to lose. Little things went my way tonight and in the end I scraped through,” said 46-year-old Milkins.

“I was sitting back when he was in the balls at 5-5. Normally I would be thinking about wanting him to miss. I’m not even that bothered. It has been such a long journey over the last few weeks. It has been amazing.

“I’d like to think that win will help me. Maybe not right this second, but if I get in a position at the World Championship to win against a top player, maybe I can push on rather than be negative.

“I’m coming off the back of the biggest win in my career. If I can’t believe in myself now, then I never will. I am looking forward to the next round.”

On the other table, Carter earned his quarter-final spot with a nerve shredding 6-5 defeat of 2019 World Champion Judd Trump.

The win is Carter’s first over Trump since 2016, in a match over the best of seven frames or longer. The Captain was beaten by Trump in the World Grand Prix final back in 2019.

A dramatic final frame in this evening’s encounter saw Carter leave Trump requiring two snookers on two occasions. Both times he got them on the colours to leave the match in the balance. However, Carter eventually deposited a tricky blue to the right middle to get over the line.

Carter said: “Judd had me in all sorts of trouble all night. His safety was unbelievable and he will be disappointed to have lost there, I would have been if I’d have lost. I got the job done in the end.”