Snooker: Davis misses out on Crucible trip

Steve Davis' hopes of more world championship glory ended when he lost to Andy Hicks in qualifying.

Steve Davis' hopes of more world championship glory ended when he lost to Andy Hicks in qualifying.

Davis, six-time world champion at the Crucible, was beaten 10-6 by Hicks in the final qualifying round of the Embassy World Championship at Newport.

The 43-year-old had been an ever-present at the game's showpiece event since 1979.

But like another Crucible legend Jimmy White, who was beaten 10-7 by Ireland's Michael Judge yesterday, Davis will this year be relegated to the role of spectator.

And Davis offered no excuses after failing to secure his 23rd consecutive appearance in the final stages of the championship.

He said: "Its my fault entirely. Andy was marvellous but I wasn't very effective. That's been happening a lot lately and its very disappointing.

"I've been practising hard but I haven't produced the goods all season. If anyone's got the answer, put them on a postcard and send it to Romford."

Yet despite such a crushing disappointment, Davis has no intention of putting his cue in its case for good.

He said: "I could retire but I bloody well refuse to. That would be the easy thing to do, but its still a challenge for me because I want to play well again.

"Its an uphill battle for me at the moment and Andy made it tough as well. Things didn't go my way and I wasn't playing well enough to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

"I didn't come here with trepidation. In fact I couldn't wait to get at it. I still enjoy matches but when you want to win badly and haven't been doing so it becomes a vicious circle."

Davis held Hicks to 3-3 but entered the concluding session 6-3 adrift after misjudging a vital double on the final black in frame nine.

Runs of 54 and 62 helped Davis rally from 7-3 down to only 7-5 behind but Hicks, who has crumbled after occupying numerous positions of strength in recent seasons, this time held firm to repeat his victory over Davis in the first round of the 1995 world championship.

"I've had so many downs lately its great to get back to The Crucible," said world number 36 Hicks.

"I had a good run of the ball today but I am not complaining. There was so much pressure and so much at stake.

"Obviously Steve's going to be very disappointed but this is a tough sport. It's a shame that Steve and Jimmy aren't there but I suppose nobody can go on forever."

The elimination of Davis means no world champion from the 1980s will be in the field this year as Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor and Cliff Thorburn have all retired and Joe Johnson exited in an earlier round.

In addition John Parrott, at 36, will now be the oldest competitor in the 32-man televised phase.

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