‘Haunted’ Andy Hicks targets Crucible redemption as qualifying campaign begins

It’s been 27 years since Andy Hicks produced one of the biggest shocks in the history of the world championship. This week, the former semi-finalist will be looking to seal his long-awaited return.

Back in 1995, Hicks entered the world championships with minimal expectations. Despite this, he went on to pull off one of the biggest ever coups as he beat six-time champion and number two seed Steve Davis in the opening round. 

His momentum continued with wins over Willie Thorne and Peter Ebdon as he sensationally made the semi-final of the tournament. Hicks missed out on a place in the showpiece following a defeat to Nigel Bond, but few would have expected 'The Cream of Devon' to simply fade away.

Ultimately, that was exactly what happened, as Hicks would go on to win just one of his seven subsequent first-round matches at the Crucible.

Andy Hicks during his match against Dominic Dale during day seven of the Cazoo UK Championship at the York Barbican.

The 48-year-old hasn't made the main draw of the world championships since 2007 however, Hicks has continued to plug away on the professional tour and is looking to set the record straight in this year's qualifying stages.

The player will be buoyed by his recent run to the quarter-finals of the UK Championship when he kicks off his qualifying campaign on Thursday.

"It's a great feeling to come into the qualifiers without the pressure of having to win to stay on the tour," said Hicks.

"Reaching the UK quarter-finals has given me the hunger and the belief that I can still compete at the top level. I've been putting a lot of time in on the practice table and it's always been a massive goal of mine to get back to the Crucible."

Andy Hicks during his match with Barry Hawkins on day eleven of the Cazoo UK Championship at the York Barbican.

Hicks lost 11 times in qualifiers since his last world championship main draw appearance 15 years ago.

The player needs three victories in order to secure his first-round return, starting with a game against Zhang Anda.

"It's haunted me really that I've never been able to do anything else at the Crucible besides beating Quinten and playing well against Ronnie in 2004," added Hicks.

"It's been hard for me to take quite a lot of the time - I've qualified and I just haven't turned up, and that's been frustrating for me. It would be nice for me to put that right at this stage of my career."

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