Essex end Hants promotion hopes
Hampshire must spend a second season in Division Two of the LV= County Championship after losing by 122 runs to Essex at the Ageas Bowl despite their captain Jimmy Adams carrying his bat for a valiant 139 not out.
Resuming at a seemingly hopeless 73 for three, needing another 352 to take their promotion battle into the final fixture, Hampshire were all out in mid-afternoon for 302.
Essex would have completed their victory sooner had it not been for the dogged Adams, who featured in stands of 160 for the fourth wicket with Liam Dawson and 62 for the last with David Griffiths.
Hampshire even fostered hopes of their own as Dawson, who hit 11 fours in his 90, kept Adams company on a wicket which had flattened after problems on the first two days.
Adams and Dawson took the score to 183 before Dawson offered Ryan ten Doeschate a return catch, and with him went Hampshire's last chance of averting their fourth defeat of the season.
James Vince followed at 208 and Ten Doeschate ripped through the middle order by dismissing Sean Ervine and Michael Bates in the same over to leave Hampshire 213 for seven.
Adams reached his century during an eighth-wicket partnership of 27 with David Balcombe, but the match looked to be all over when Graham Napier returned to the attack.
Napier's medium pace accounted for Balcombe to a catch at the wicket by James Foster and then James Tomlinson who was bowled without scoring in the same over.
At 240 for nine, spectators began to drift home but Griffiths and Adams refused to accept the inevitable and stayed together for a further 20 overs as Essex grew frustrated at their failure to finish it off.
Adams lifted spinner Tom Craddock for six and Griffiths struck five fours in 21, his best score of the season.
Reece Topley ended the unexpected resistance by bowling Griffiths at the start of the 85th over as Essex gained some measure of revenge for a narrow defeat by Hampshire earlier in the season.
Adams received a standing ovation for the 16th century of his first-class career, reward for an innings also comprising 19 fours and put together over 247 balls.
Topley took 3-95 and Ten Doeschate 3-39, but Essex were hampered by the injury absence of Maurice Chambers who was unable to bowl on the last day.