Somerset sunk by in-form Hampshire
Somerset’s LV= Championship title hopes appear to be over after an innings-and-61-run defeat at the hands of a resurgent Hampshire.
Stand-in captain Alfonso Thomas fell six runs short of his first century in English cricket for the hosts, but that was not enough to prevent Somerset from picking up only two points.
Hampshire, meanwhile, are now in with a realistic chance of survival. They have won three of their last four matches and took 23 points from this clash to move within 19 points of third-bottom Worcestershire with two matches remaining.
Somerset resumed on 266 for seven, needing a further 157 to avoid an innings defeat. They held out for 21.2 overs before being bowled out for 362, Imran Tahir claiming 4-25 and Dimitri Mascarenhas 3-70.
Thomas was unbeaten on 79 overnight and added 15 before mistiming a drive off Tahir to be caught at mid-on.
Somerset at least put up a fight under grey skies this morning, the rain they were hoping for just about staying away.
Thomas, who arrived at the crease on the previous day with his side 132 for six, faced 141 balls and hit 12 fours and a six. Murali Kartik contributed 26 to an eighth-wicket stand of 50, while Steve Kirby managed 14.
There was even a late flourish from last man Charl Willoughby, who swung lustily to make an unbeaten 23, almost as many as he had managed in his previous 18 championship innings this summer.
Tahir, who will not feature in the club's final two matches following his call-up to a South Africa training camp, took two of the three wickets to fall today, finishing the match by having Kirby caught at point by Chris Wood.
Mascarenhas pinned Kartik lbw playing no shot, the fourth Somerset player of the innings to be dismissed shouldering arms.
The home side badly missed injured skipper Marcus Trescothick and must now win their last two championship fixtures away to Yorkshire and at home to Lancashire to have any chance of winning the title.
Hampshire face two of Somerset’s title rivals to finish, their trip to Lancashire followed by a home game against Warwickshire.