milkins' magic moment
Robert Milkins – you’ve got to love him.

In a professional career spanning almost 30 years, he has never shied away from playing fast-paced, attacking snooker, but it is only in the past 12 months, deep into his 40s, that he is enjoying his finest moments in the game.

And who can begrudge him. This is the story of a player who has spent all his adult life doing the one thing he knows, not being deterred by setbacks and having to watch on as others around him enjoy success – patiently waiting to see if his turn was ever coming.

His 9-7 victory over Shaun Murphy on Sunday night in the Welsh Open marked his second ranking title and will be considered far and away his greatest success on the table.

And off it – it is simply life-changing.

Not only did his win earn him the £80,000 top prize in Llandudno but with it, another £150,000 bonus from the sponsors BetVictor for topping their own tournament money chart for the campaign.

With more money spin-offs to come, courtesy of also securing his place at the Champion of Champions and Tour Championship, this victory is special not only as a cherished occasion lifting silverware, but for the financial magnitude and further opportunities it affords him.

This payday alone equates to almost a quarter of his total career earnings. It is on another planet to what he’s ever experienced before.

While for snooker’s traditionalists and sporting fans who favour assessing success through the microscope of achievement instead of by economics, the financial analysis of this win may seem a little crass, but it is worth remembering that snooker is not like a lot of other sports.

For the majority of the players outside of the very elite, earning a decent living is far from certain in this game, and even Milkins himself, who has been established on the professional circuit for many a year, has talked about spiralling into debt and struggling to make ends meet owing to a lack of lucrative paydays on the baize.

But the capture of the Welsh Open title is as life-changing away from the table as it is career-defining on the table.
And this is exactly why Milkins’ win has been so warmly greeted by his fellow professionals. Not only does he play the game the right way, but he is widely acclaimed off the table as a cracking bloke, and perhaps more than all of this, he is a story of inspiration for so many who are plugging away and chasing a dream in the sport.

Certain players might wait a whole career for a moment like this. For others, they may never come, but remarkably for Milkins, he has enjoyed two in a year when you could be forgiven for thinking his best days were behind him and his years of decline were in full swing.
Roll the clock back to June last year, and The Milkman edged his way over the line against Kyren Wilson to land the Gibraltar Open title. Even Rob would admit that this was probably destined to be his career highlight – his solitary experience lifting a title.
But he’s done it again – it’s been bigger and better, and if it all happened too fast last time, he has had another chance to really savour that feeling.
This is a magical moment for Milkins and reward for the hard work and dedication over the years. It’ll take a while for the well wishes to subside from this one and for the enormity of the achievement to really sink in. You could tell how much this one meant to him by his emotional outpouring in the post-match trophy presentation.
Robert Milkins, we salute you.

(Image copyright & credit - WST 2023)

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