Andy Hicks overcame 12-time women’s world champion Reanne Evans 6-2 in the first round of qualifying at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Hicks, ranked 87 in the world, opened up a four-frame advantage – winning frame two after a controversial call from referee Colin Humphries – before Evans cut the arrears by winning frames five and six, the second of which was sealed with a cocked-hat double on the final black.
However, the Tavistock cueist closed it out with relative ease to beat Evans for the second consecutive year at the first round of qualifying, seal 5,000 precious ranking points and set up a second-round showdown with Eden Sharav.
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The first frame was a taught, tense affair, which Hicks sealed after multiple visits but it was the second that shifted the momentum in the favour of the world number 87.
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Trailing 47-50, Hicks played a safety marked by a slice of luck, with Joe Johnson on commentary remarking “that it couldn’t have gone any better for Andy”, leaving the cue ball in baulk, and the blue obscuring Evans’ sight of the object ball green.
Referee calls ‘impossible’ foul on Evans during Hicks match
The 12-time women's world champion evaded the blue, appearing to make contact with the green first before catching the pink. However, without hesitation, match referee Humphries called a foul on the pink, which prompted an immediate response from 1986 world champion Johnson:
No. That wasn’t a foul. The pink went backwards.
“The referee has got to make a decision but for me, that wasn’t a foul,” he continued. “I don’t know how she caught the pink first and sent it backwards. You can’t cut the pink backwards.”
It is an impossibility.
“Take the green out of the situation completely – how does she hit the pink and send it backwards from there?”
It would take Evans four attempts to hit the green, and, thus providing Hicks with the initiative. The 47-year-old would capitalise to take the frame and followed that up with frames three and four, compiling a 54 in the third.
Evans, who made round two of qualifying in 2017, made a 65 in frame five to cut the arrears and applied further pressure when taking frame six – courtesy of a cocked-hat double – on the final black. However, Hicks, who also beat Evans in the first round of qualifying in 2020, rattled off the next two to set up an encounter with Sharav in round two on Thursday.
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