Hampshire relegated, Essex celebrate County Championship promotion
Last Updated: 23/09/16 7:39pm
Hampshire's bid for a second successive great escape from relegation from the top-flight of the Specsavers County Championship ended in failure.
Victory over Durham would have saved the Ageas Bowl outfit, who stayed up so narrowly last summer, and send down Lancashire instead after the Red Rose's defeat against Warwickshire.
But it was not to be, as Durham won by six wickets after Hampshire declared on 245-9.
Lewis McManus (67) helped set a target of 296, despite two more wickets and a career-best for off-spinner Ryan Pringle (7-107).
Then Mark Stoneman (137) and Scott Borthwick (88), the latter in his final match for his native county before joining Surrey, put on 162 for the second wicket to underpin the chase.
Warwickshire ensured their top-flight survival, and some sweaty hours for Lancashire, when they wrapped up a 237-run victory over by early afternoon at Edgbaston where Lancashire finished their summer with a sorry whimper, all out for 109.
After they resumed already in trouble on 28-3, in notional pursuit of 347 to win, even the determination of nightwatchman Simon Kerrigan - 10 runs from 117 balls - faltered in the end, as only three batsmen reached double-figures and Rikki Clarke (4-20) finished the job.
Significantly less was at stake in three matches in Division Two, where Essex had long confirmed their title and the sole promotion place on offer.
Their season ended in anti-climax with a dull draw against runners-up Kent at Canterbury, in a match shortened by rain to three days.
Essex ensured a routine final day by narrowly passing the follow-on mark first thing - turning a start-of-play 289-9 into 292 all out, to trail therefore by 'only' 149.
Kent had to bat again, and reached 288-5 before the stalemate was acknowledged - with 25 fours and three sixes along the way for captain Sam Northeast as he concluded his highly-productive summer with an unbeaten 178, in a stand of 185 with Will Gidman (63no).
At Hove, Gloucestershire dug in for a hard-earned draw against Sussex.
After resuming on 88-3, the visitors eked out 337-7 - thanks to half-centuries from veteran Hamish Marshall (77), in his final match, Phil Mustard (90no) and Chris Dent (55).
Marshall and Mustard put on 135 for the sixth wicket - and despite the best efforts of Danny Briggs (5-93), Gloucestershire finished 131 in front and batted long enough to preclude a Sussex chase.
Bottom-of-the-table Derbyshire were unable to stave off their fifth defeat of the season away to Worcestershire.
The visitors inched 39 in front, after following on - thanks to the prolific Wayne Madsen (100) and another fine hand from first-innings centurion Harvey Hosein (59).
But they lost their last five wickets for 11 runs to allow Worcestershire enough time to knock off the arrears and make sure of third place.