Andy Hicks and onlookers 'Breathe for Jo'

Andy Hicks & Co ‘Breathe for Jo’

12th February 2016

Master of Ceremonies Steve Canniford, representing the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation, got the snooker exhibition and fund raising event underway outlining the programme and introducing Andy Hicks as one of the finest snooker players to emerge from the West Country. After an uncharacteristically slow start Hicks suddenly found his rhythm and ran through his second half opponents with a display of top drawer break building. Referee for the evening was Andy Bissett from Okehampton who officiated the frames flawlessly.

The first four frames proved uneventful, Hicks struggling to get into his stride and get the measure of a well prepared table that demanded careful precision potting. All of his first four opponents; Paul Northway, Tony Griffiths, Andy Middleton & Steve Howe were presented with outside opportunities to win. However, Hicks’ ability to steel frames saw him win through. Howe came closest to beating Hicks after starting with a nice 36 break, he then went on to take Hicks to a black ball finish before missing a golden opportunity to sink long black. Middleton also got close to winning but again just failed. Frame five proved a turning point for Hicks, youngster Ryan Lamberth was on the receiving end of an excellent 88 break, eleven reds, eleven blacks. Hicks wobbled the next red in the tight pockets with a century, possibly a 147 in the offing. Hicks has had over three hundred maximum breaks in his career, thirty plus in exhibition play, so a 147 was not out of the question. After receiving a lesson in black ball potting from Hicks on the table, Lamberth was later gifted a copy of a Snooker Coaching Book along with two hours of free Snooker Lessons. One to watch in the future maybe.

The fifth frame saw Jamie Denham start well before Hicks made a 43 break to win the frame. Hicks, by this point had started to find some rhythm in his play and looked more at ease with the table. This showed in the next frame against John Mills where he posted his first century of the night, a well-crafted 107. Next up was Jamie Izzard who was shut-out after a 68 break by Hicks. Now in full flow Hicks produced a superb 125 clearance in frame nine, giving Liam Sluman very little table time. The next frame was nip-and-tuck until a modest 33 break from Hicks saw a comfortable points win over Gary Weeks.

Ben Pike from the Seaton & District Snooker League set a new high break record earlier this season with a superb 131 clearance, so there was an air of expectancy going into the next frame. After an early poor safety shot from Pike, Hicks took very little time to reach a break of 105, all blacks, before another wobble prevented what looked like a real opportunity for an elusive 147. Still the pots flew in as Hicks made a 79 break against Shaun Ormandy and a 77 against Paul Herd respectively, in winning the next two frames. After a spell of thirteen frames, during which there was just one twenty minute interval, one could be forgiven for thinking Hicks might be getting tired, far from it! In the last frame of the evening at past 11 o’clock, an understandably tired referee, Andy Bissett, swapped his white gloves for his cue and prepared to take on Andy Hicks, the ‘Cream of Devon’. The outcome was that Bissett sat out the frame whilst Hicks made a brilliant 136 total clearance to finish off a great evening of snooker entertainment and fundraising. Final score: Andy Hicks 14 Frames (1320 Points), All-comers 0 Frames (218 Points).

The main sponsors and organisers of this event were Exeter snooker players, Simon Wescott and Ian Heaver. Their aim was two-fold; primarily to raise awareness and funds for the worthy cause ‘Breathe for Jo’. Jo is a kind and caring mum, who is suffering from two terminal illnesses, pulmonary hypertension & lymphatic cancer. At the moment the cause or causes of this combined condition is not known therefore there is, as of yet no cure; Secondly to raise the profile of snooker in the city. Exeter was once a hot-bed for rising and establish snooker talent of Professional, International and National standing.

Other generous contributions and donations were received from ticket sales; the players, each paying for the privilege of playing Hicks; West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation; Gary Roberts, Kustom Ink Tattoo Artists; Dave Tremain; Kev Melhuish, Exeter Angling Centre; Mamas Cakes, World Snooker Coach, Nick Dart and Andrew Radford & Lynsey Grant.

The Exhibition and fund raising event raised over £700 on the night which has been increased since by the main sponsors to £1000. This will go towards finding a cause and then hopefully one day soon a cure. MC Steve Canniford in summing up gave special thanks to Kirstie Melhuish for her help with refreshments and fund raising on the night and to Heavitree Conservative Club who hosted the event.

Anyone wanting to donate to this worthy cause can do so by selecting this ‘Breathe for Jo’

Andy Hicks is available for exhibitions at a very reasonable cost, contact the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation eMail: for more information.

Report by Steve Canniford