Milkins relishing chance on the big stage

QUALIFIER Robert Milkins produced a stunning upset on Thursday as former champion Neil Robertson became the latest big name to tumble out in the first round of the World Snooker Championships.

Robertson joins John Higgins, Stephen Maguire and Mark Allen as the other members of the top ten in the world rankings who will be watching the rest of the tournament unfold on TV.

Milkins staged a remarkable fightback from 5-2 down to emerge a 10-8 victor in dramatic scenes at the Crucible against the world no.2.

Milkins, the word No.19, was appearing in the main draw in Sheffield for the first time since 2005 and was a ajor outsider to beat the Australian.

The 37-year-old produced some gritty snooker with near flawless safety play on Thursday to seal a two-frame victory and set up a last 16 clash with Ricky Walden.

"This is definitely the biggest win of my career, to win here against Neil is just amazing and I am chuffed to bits," he said.

"Yesterday's first session really helped because Neil was playing really well so to get to come back on the next day only losing 5-4 was a big help.

"And I think that made Neil think a bit as well but to actually get the win is amazing, it does not come much better than that.

"I've always known that I have got the ability, but consistency has been the problem but on my day I know I can play against the best."

Stuart Bingham had no such troubles against qualifier Sam Baird however as he cruised to a 10-2 victory against 24-year-old who was making his Crucible debut

Baird, the world No.83, had impressed a great many in making his way through qualifying to the main draw up in Sheffield.

But under the bright lights the 24-year-old found Bingham far too hot to handle and soon found himself trailing 6-0.

For a brief moment it appeared that only the second-ever Crucible whitewash was on the cards, John Parrott beat the late Eddie Charlton 10-0 back in 1992.

Baird then took the seventh frame to stop the rot but that was about as good as it got for him as Basildon ace Bingham polished him off on Thursday evening for a comfortable win.

"It was a long time ago but I can remember when I made my Crucible debut, I was a bag of nerves as well," said Bingham.

"That's how Sam must have felt and thankfully I managed to get on top of him pretty early on and he started to feel it a bit.

The second round also got underway on Thursday with 2005 winner Shaun Murphy racing into a 6-2 lead against the man who succeeded him as world champion Graeme Dott.

And Dechawat Poomjaeng, the eccentric Thai sensation who took down Maguire in round one, is struggling against Welshman Michael White, the 21-year-old leading 7-1.

British Eurosport is the Home of Snooker, showing 19 tournaments this season including the World Championship, UK Championship, the Masters and all ranking events, available on Sky, Virgin Media & BT or online/on mobile via eurosportplayer.co.uk

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