The first evening at the 2020 Workd Grand Prix saw the defending champion exit the tournament.
Milkman Shows Bottle To Smash Robbo
Neil Robertson suffered a shock early exit on the first night of the matchroom World Grand Prix, losing 4-2 to bogey player Robert Milkins.
World number two Robertson won the Betway UK Championship final just eight days ago, but that has proved his last win of 2020. Milkins beat Robertson at the World Championship in 2013 and 2018 and scored another impressive victory over the 19-time ranking event winner, booking a second round meeting with Shaun Murphy or Jack Lisowski.
Australia’s Robertson looked set to take the opening frame until he missed a red to a top corner on 67. Milkins cleared superbly with 70 and then made a 116 to go 2-0 ahead. A run of 52 helped Robertson take frame three and he made a fine 87 clearance to win the fourth from 41-0 down.
But world number 43 Milkins regained the lead with an 84 then secured victory in frame six with a break of 41 which included an excellent pot on the penultimate red to a baulk corner.
“I played really well, I was fluent in the balls and scored well,” said the player nicknamed the Milkman. “I was very nervous at the start of the match but when Neil missed a red in the first frame and I managed to clear up, that was a big settler for me. Neil is a class player and you always have to play well to beat him because you don’t get many second chances. Today was the best I have played against him.”
Milkins revealed that he would prefer to play Murphy in round two, as he has a close relationship with fellow Gloucestershire cueman Lisowski.
“I have known Jack all of his life, I remember when he was five or six years old and he used to stand on a box to practise with me,” said Milkins. “I have watched him grow up. He used to come with me to tournaments before he turned pro just to keep me company, we would share a chalet together at Prestatyn. I have been like a father figure to him over the years.”
John Higgins put a new cue to good effect as he beat Xiao Guodong 4-2. After sharing the first two frames, Higgins won three of the next four with top runs of 59, 69 and 114. “I have only the had the cue for a two days but it feels good,” said Higgins. “Some of the shots I played felt very solid.”
Anthony McGill knocked in breaks of 108, 66, 80 and 73 as he beat Joe Perry 4-2. Barry Hawkins saw off Ricky Walden 4-1 with top runs of 90, 55, 66 and 112.
And the woes didn’t stop there for Neil…
World Grand Prix Snooker 2020 Draw, Live Scores and Schedule of Play
Neil Robertson is the defending champion
The top 32 players on the one-year list compete for World Grand Prix glory, and you can follow all results and fixtures here.
The World Grand Prix field is comprised of the 32 most in-form players covering all ranked events from the past 12 months, up to the Scottish Open.
The World Grand Prix is the eighth ranking event of the season and part of a series which also includes the Players Championship and Tour Championship.
Neil Robertson claimed the title when the event was last staged in February this year, defeating Graeme Dott 10-8 in the final in Cheltenham.
Other former champions in action include Shaun Murphy, Barry Hawkins, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump.
Last Sunday’s Scottish Open winner Mark Selby makes a swift return to action alongside runner-up O’Sullivan, while Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson – who have also claimed silverware this season – are out to add to their tally.
Former World Champions John Higgins and Stuart Bingham are also eyeing silverware, alongside the likes of Ding Junhui, Barry Hawkins and Ali Carter.
The tournament runs from December 14-20 behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
First Round and Second Round matches are to be contested over the best of seven frames, with Quarter-Finals best of nine, Semi-Finals best of 11 and the final best of 19.
World Grand Prix Snooker 2020 Schedule
Monday December 14
6 Barry Hawkins 4-1 Ricky Walden
16 Neil Robertson 2-4 Robert Milkins
10 Joe Perry 2-4 Anthony McGill
13 John Higgins 4-2 Xiao Guodong
Tuesday December 15
1 Judd Trump v Michael Holt
2 Li Hang v Stuart Bingham
4 Lu Ning v Robbie Williams
11 Ding Junhui v Jak Jones
5 Ronnie O’Sullivan v Ali Carter
7 David Grace v Yan Bingtao
3 Martin Gould v Mark Allen
8 Kyren Wilson v Kurt Maflin
Wednesday December 16
9 Mark Selby v Liang Wenbo
12 Zhou Yuelong v Hossein Vafaei
14 Jamie Jones v Zhao Xintong
15 Shaun Murphy v Jack Lisowski
17 Winner of Match 1 v Winner of Match 2
18 Winner of Match 3 v Winner of Match 4
19 Winner of Match 5 v Barry Hawkins
20 Winner of Match 7 v Winner of Match 8
Thursday December 17
21 Winner of Match 9 v Anthony McGill
22 Winner of Match 11 v Winner of Match 12
23 John Higgins v Winner of Match 14
24 Winner of Match 15 v Robert Milkins
25 Winner of Match 17 v Winner of Match 18
26 Winner of Match 19 v Winner of Match 20
Friday December 18
27 Winner of Match 21 v Winner of Match 22
28 Winner of Match 23 v Winner of Match 24
29 Winner of Match 25 v Winner of Match 26
Saturday December 19
30 Winner of Match 27 v Winner of Match 28
Sunday December 20
1pm & 7pm
Quarter-Final losers: £12,500
Last 16 losers: £7,500
Last 32 losers: £5,000 (prize money will not count towards rankings)
Highest break: £10,000
I have removed the link to the betting site to which WST directs people wanting to watch the event. The event is on ITV, it’s also streamed on the Matchroom.live platform, although, yesterday, only table 2 was available there. Why send viewers to a betting site, especially as they aren’t even the sponsors? Gambling addiction is already a huge issue in UK:
… Gambling addiction rates may be much higher than previously thought, according to research that also warns nearly half of those with a problem are not getting any help.
In a survey commissioned by the GambleAware charity, YouGov estimated that up to 2.7% of adults in Great Britain, or nearly 1.4 million people, were problem gamblers. Experts urged caution over the figure, insisting that the true addiction rate is likely to be closer to the health survey figures of 0.7% cited by industry regulator the Gambling Commission.
But the findings still indicate that the number of problem gamblers – defined as scoring more than eight on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) – may be significantly above current estimates. YouGov questioned 16,000 people for the survey.
The report also found that as many as 7% of adults, or 3.6 million people, report having been negatively affected by someone else’s gambling problem.
Overall, the research suggests that nearly 5 million British people have experienced harm linked to gambling, even accounting for the overlap between problem gamblers and those they affect.
But he said the higher figure could not be ruled out and added that previous research had probably “somewhat underestimated” addiction levels. The findings are likely to fuel calls for stronger measures to address gambling addiction, amid increased concern about the added risk posed to frequent gamblers isolated at home due to coronavirus.
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who chairs a cross-party group of MPs examining gambling harm, said the report was “deeply concerning”.
“While the rate of 2.7% could well be an overestimate, the health survey data seems to be a significant underestimate. This new data suggests that addiction levels are far higher than has been previously thought.
“Policymakers, the regulator and gambling support services must take note of these important findings and ensure that the correct provision and regulation is in place to support gamblers in the UK.”
Why encourage an industry that causes so much harm? ah, yes, money…