Bad light comes to Somerset's aid
Hampshire were denied the prospect of a vital third win of their LV= County Championship Division One campaign when bad light stymied them at the Rose Bowl just as they began their pursuit of a 140-run target in 17 overs.
Umpires Mark Benson and Nick Cook decided play was unable to continue with Hampshire nine without loss from 11 balls. The players did not return and the match ended in a disappointing draw.
Somerset began the day following on at 50 without loss in their second innings still needing another 105 to make Hampshire bat again.
Hampshire were without their captain Dimitri Mascarenhas, a vital component in their bowling attack, but they still managed to reduce Somerset to 294 not out.
Somerset's top scorer was again their prolific former England opener Marcus Trescothick, who added 73 to the century he made in the first innings, while Craig Kieswetter scored 70 to delay Hampshire's charge.
Somerset quickly lost opening batsman Arul Suppiah for 21 after only two more runs had been added to the overnight total.
But Hampshire's opportunity looked to be slipping away as Trescothick was joined by his captain Justin Langer in a stand of 65 for the second wicket.
Dominic Cork rolled back the years in a 14-over opening spell through the morning, during which Hampshire broke through again when Langer mishit spin bowler Imran Tahir to mid-on after making 32.
Cork struck for a second time when he had James Hildreth leg before at 126, but Somerset were still coasting at lunch at 144 for three, only 11 runs behind, and the wicket posing only minor problems with variable bounce and spin for Tahir.
But the complexion of the match changed when a second spinner was introduced to the Hampshire bowling line-up.
Danny Briggs, a teenage left-armer from the Isle of Wight, made an immediate impact when he had Zander de Bruyn caught behind cutting with Somerset still six runs short of making Hampshire bat again.
Somerset's plight worsened three runs later when the formidable Trescothick edged Briggs to slip, where Cork pouched the catch. The opener’s innings included nine fours and came off 153 balls.
With Trescothick gone and five wickets down, Somerset did not overtake Hampshire's score until the 54th over.
Only then was there some resistance from the middle order with Peter Trego joining Kieswetter in a profitable stand of 58 for the sixth wicket.
Then Trego pushed forward to Tahir and gave Jimmy Adams a catch at short-leg after making 27 useful runs including five fours.
Omari Banks was the next to go at 233, leg before to Sean Ervine shuffling across his crease to a ball which kept low, but time was running out for Hampshire.
At that stage, with the tea interval, Somerset had a lead of 93 with 32 overs left.
Kieswetter and Alfonso Thomas took the score to 261 before Briggs struck again, beating Thomas's forward push, and at 270 Kieswetter lifted a delivery from David Griffiths to mid-on - where Liam Dawson held the catch.
Max Waller did his best to shepherd last man Charl Willoughby from the bowling, adding 24 for the final wicket, and that resistance proved timely.
Griffiths eventually had Waller caught behind for 18, leaving Hampshire with a target within their grasp until the weather intervened.
Briggs finished with creditable figures of 3-62 on his debut, while Tahir took 2-120 to give him match figures of 9-260.
When Hampshire batted, Adams and Michael Lumb took six off the first over of the innings from Willoughby and three more from the next from Thomas before the umpires decided it was not possible to continue.