The 16 Seeds: Robert Milkins
Continuing our series of Cazoo World Championship previews.
By David Hendon
Seed 13: Robert Milkins
A professional since 1995, Milkins soon developed a reputation as a fine natural talent with the capacity to cause upsets. Temperamentally he could be erratic in his early years but he reached six ranking semi-finals and was briefly in the top 16 in 2014, making maximum breaks in the World Championship qualifiers in 2006 and 2012.
By 2022 he was in the doldrums. He had won only three matches all season before his surprise capture of the Gibraltar Open title, his first success in a ranking event. This year he doubled his tally by winning the Welsh Open.
Milkins’s capture of the Welsh Open title and with it the £150,000 BetVictor Series bonus prize was one of the campaign’s most popular moments with snooker fans. His 9-7 victory over Shaun Murphy resonated with the many who see him as an ordinary bloke with no pretensions.
Milkins also reached the German Masters semi-finals and made a 147 at the Tempodrom. These performances helped him rejoin the top 16 after nine years.
Milkins has only won three matches at the Crucible but in two of them defeated Neil Robertson. However, he has overall found the home of snooker to be an unhappy hunting ground, with an 11-year gap between his first and second match wins.
Previous Crucible appearances: 8
Matches played: 11
Matches won: 3
Crucible centuries: 2
Milkins heads to the Crucible this year with his game in arguably the best shape of his whole career, and with plenty of goodwill from fans and fellow players. The problem, though, with being suddenly successful is that he also has a large target painted on his back. Players now feel they have to raise their games against him and he also has to deal with his own raised expectations.
Despite a terrific season, Milkins faces the pressure of being a seed for the first time, which could leave him vulnerable to a hungry qualifier.
Bookmakers’ odds on Milkins: 80/1