Rocket Reaches 46th Ranking Final

Bingham To Face Milkins In Semis

binghamStuart Bingham struggled to a 5-3 win over Stuart Carrington at the Coral Welsh Open and will now face Robert Milkins for a place in the final in Cardiff.

Saturday’s semi-finals:
1pm Judd Trump v Scott Donaldson
7pm Stuart Bingham v Robert Milkins 

World number two Bingham looked in for a comfortable night when he led Carrington 4-0, but suffered a bout of nerves after the interval as his opponent threatened an unlikely fight back. In the end Bingham got the job done and will now battle Milkins over 11 frames for a final berth. The 40-year-old from Basildon is hoping to win his first piece of silverware since lifting the World Championship trophy 21 months ago.

Breaks of 103, 68 and 70 helped Bingham win the first four frames. He missed clear chances for victory in each of the next two frames, allowing Carrington pull two back. Frame seven came down to the colours and cracking pots on blue, pink and black saw Carrington, playing in his first ranking quarter-final, recover to 4-3.

It could have got worse for Bingham had Carrington not overcut the last red to a baulk corner in frame eight. Bingham edged 24 points ahead on the green then trapped his opponent in a snooker, and from the chance that followed he dropped the green into a centre pocket which proved enough.

“I don’t know what happened in the middle. The wheels came off for a while,” admitted Bingham after reaching his seventh semi-final of the season. “The first four frames was the best I have felt for ages – maybe a year or so – the interval can change a lot of things and it did.

“Stuart went for it and built in confidence. I should have finished the match off, but I am over the moon to win it 5-3 eventually. My arm felt like someone else’s, so I am pleased to get over the line.

“Robert is a great lad, we turned professional together back in the day. It is no surprise that he is the semi-finals. Hopefully it will be a nice open game and we both can score – and hopefully I’ll come out on top.”

milkinsGloucester’s Milkins scored a 5-2 win over Kurt Maflin to reach the sixth ranking event semi-final of his career and first since 2014. The world number 32 has lost the previous five and will hope to make a breakthrough tomorrow.

Norway’s Maflin won the opening frame before Milkins took three in a row with runs of 71, 54 and 63. Maflin pulled one back but 40-year-old Milkins got the better of a scrappy sixth frame then won the seventh by potting yellow and green.

“It is always great getting to a semi-final. You give yourself a chance of going on and winning a tournament,” said Milkins. “So far I haven’t quite done it in semi-finals, so hopefully this one will be a different story.

“If I play well, I’ll disappointed to lose. I don’t have the most confidence in the world, but I aim to play well. I’m really happy with my game at the moment. I won a couple of matches in the UK Championship before Christmas which got me back winning again. The game is 90 per cent in the head, if you don’t have the confidence then it is really tough to win.”