Hampshire cling on to remain unbeaten
Watch highlights of day four
Gloucestershire ran out of time in their bid to inflict a first LV= County Championship Division Two defeat of the season on Hampshire, James Vince and Sean Ervine each hitting half-centuries as the hosts survived a tense evening session at the Ageas Bowl.
When Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman shook hands on the draw there were only eight overs remaining, Hampshire were just six runs ahead and they had only four second-innings wickets left.
Two of those overs would have been lost in the changeover of innings had Hampshire capitulated so that the visitors were left to rue a bland, lifeless wicket and rain over the first two days which proved so costly.
At the start of play, Gloucestershire were 446 for five - a lead of 149, with Will Gidman 109 not out joined at the crease by Benny Howell - and needing to build on their substantial lead quickly with a declaration in the offing.
Gidman was eventually caught at the wicket off James Tomlinson for 119 - a valuable innings compiled over 186 balls and including 14 fours.
Century for Will Gidman! Glos 1st Inns: 428 - 5, Howell (6*) Lead Hampshire by 131 runs with 5 wickets remaining — Gloucestershire CCC (@Gloscricket) July 9, 2014
Adam Rouse, the former Hampshire wicketkeeper on a month's trial with Gloucestershire, followed at 490, cutting to third man, and another ex-Hampshire player, Howell, finally departed at 504 after lifting spinner Danny Briggs to Jimmy Adams at mid-wicket.
At this stage - 504 for eight and a lead of 207 - Alex Gidman called a halt, leaving his bowlers 80 overs to remove Hampshire a second time, which was always going to be a big ask.
Hampshire made an appalling start even though there was nothing to fear from the wicket, losing Michael Carberry and Will Smith cheaply to catches at the wicket by Zimbabwe-born Rouse, who was axed by Hampshire at the end of last season and has been searching for a county ever since.
Adams and Vince steadied the Hampshire innings with a stand of 68 for the third wicket, but Gloucestershire's sagging hopes were suddenly revived when left-arm spinner Tom Smith had Adams caught at short leg, Joe Gatting followed soon after to leave the home side in strife.
The in-form Vince held Hampshire together with another high-quality innings, racing to 63 with five fours before edging Smith to Rouse standing up.
Half the side gone for 138, Hampshire were still 69 runs from safety, but it was then that Ervine and Adam Wheater came together in a stand of 74 in 21 overs, tentatively running down time and the deficit.
Fifty for @slug_7! Excellent knock - Hampshire are now also into a one-run lead, 208-5. Wheater (29*). #LVCC — Hampshire Cricket (@hantscricket) July 10, 2014
There was ironic cheering from the small last-day crowd as Hampshire finally scrambled in front, but almost immediately Gloucestershire morale lifted once more when Howell bowled Wheater. Ervine, meanwhile, had reached his half-century and was in no mood to surrender.
Ervine was still at the crease, unbeaten with 57, when Gloucestershire were forced to concede their task had become hopeless.
Smith took 2-62 from 24 overs but got little response from the wicket, and there was one each for Liam Norwell, David Payne, Howell and the much under-rated all-rounder Will Gidman.
Gloucestershire finished with 12 points, which failed to reflect their ascendency over the four days, while the eight points Hampshire salvaged will do little for their promotion prospects - especially in the light of rivals Surrey's big win over Glamorgan the previous day.
Gloucestershire coach John Bracewell felt his team got what they deserved from the match.
He said: ''Eighty overs was the right number to try and bowl them out. It was just a matter of how far we could get into their batting. If we had a down side, it was the guys starting to run out of petrol.
"I reckon we held the high ground for the majority of the game. We lost some key moments, but in the end we walked away with the most points because we deserved to.
''We batted well. We put that down to working to a very simple plan of 10-run blocks, and it was engaged by the whole group.''
Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams was confident his side would hold out.
"We had to battle to save it, but I always felt that if we batted to our potential we could do so," he said.
"We were in a good position after day one but then we had a mad hour and lost seven wickets for 38. It was hard work after that, with Gloucestershire getting a substantial total but we managed to salvage it in the end.
''Overall the weather ruined it, taking virtually a whole day out of the game.''