Cockbain ton denies Hampshire

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Ian Cockbain's second LV= County Championship century frustrated Hampshire on the final day of their Division Two game against Gloucestershire at Bristol.

An exciting finish looked in prospect when the hosts began the day on 102 for four, leading by only 97. But, with three of their seam bowlers carrying injuries, Gloucestershire opted for a safety first approach and Cockbain's chanceless 112 enabled them to continue batting until well after tea.

By the time they had been bowled out for 277, a maximum of 18 overs remained to chase a target of 273. Only two had been bowled without a run scored when the teams shook hands at 5pm.

Ian Cockbain

Number six Ian Cockbain's chanceless hundred earned injury-hit Gloucestershire a comfortable draw with Hampshire at Bristol

David Balcombe finished with 3-57 in Gloucestershire's second innings and there were two wickets each for Seam Ervine and James Tomlinson.

The visitors needed early breakthroughs in the morning session. But 40 had been added before Dan Housego, on 37, was caught behind off a thick edge, pushing at a wide ball from Ervine.

That was Hampshire's only success before lunch, which was taken on 179 for five, with Cockbain unbeaten on 57 - having reached his fifty off 116 balls, with six fours.

Richard Coughtrie proved a solid partner in a sixth-wicket stand of 87, which occupied 37 overs before he fell lbw to Tomlinson for 25 with the total on 229.

Hampshire's hopes of a victory to boost their promotion bid came briefly to life when Tomlinson's next ball saw him gain another leg-before verdict against Paul Muchall.

However, there was no dislodging Cockbain, who moved to his hundred with successive boundaries off Kabir Ali, the first a glorious straight drive and the second an edge to third man.

Cockbain had faced 206 deliveries and extended his boundary count to 12. Ian Saxelby helped add 40 for the eighth wicket before falling lbw to a ball that straightened from left-arm spinner Liam Dawson.

The impressive Cockbain looked on course to better the 127 he scored against Middlesex at Uxbridge last season before playing on to a delivery from Simon Katich to make it 269 for nine.

The 25-year-old earned a warm ovation from home supporters, most of whom were unaware that Gloucestershire's defensive tactics were a result of injuries to seamers Paul Muchall (back), Ian Saxelby (knee) and David Payne (heel).

By the time Payne was last man out all hope of a decisive outcome had long gone. Both sides took eight points from the game, leaving Hampshire still well in contention for promotion and Gloucestershire facing an uphill battle to mount a challenge.

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