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  • Specsavers County Championship 2m

    Stoneman ton sends Hampshire down

    Durham opener Mark Stoneman’s farewell century condemned Hampshire to relegation from the Specsavers County Championship Division One, with Durham winning by six wickets at the Ageas Bowl.

    Durham opener Mark Stoneman’s farewell century condemned Hampshire to relegation from the Specsavers County Championship Division One, with Durham winning by six wickets at the Ageas Bowl.

    Stoneman, who is joining Surrey over the winter, frustrated Hampshire all day with a near flawless ton, as Durham won with three overs to spare.

    Hampshire knew they had to win, with Lancashire crumbling to defeat at Warwickshire, but were eventually left ten points adrift at the bottom end - signalling an end to two a season stint in the top division.

    The home side had set a target of 296, after batting for an hour in the morning, but other than a late flurry of wickets, they never looked like stopping the seemingly unmovable Stoneman.

    The pitch had been designed for this situation, to assist Hampshire’s spinning trio of Mason Crane, Liam Dawson and Will Smith in the fourth innings, but Stoneman navigated the terrain effortlessly with luck deserting the home side.

    Scott Borthwick, also moving to Surrey, moved past 1,000 runs for the season on his way to 88.

    Stoneman rode his luck with a few leg-before and bat pad appeals, and was at his most fortunate to narrowly beat James Vince’s finger tips at mid-on when on 67.

    Stoneman drilled down the ground to become the first man, of 11 fifty makers in the match, to convert to three figures.

    Hampshire's director of cricket Giles White was full of praise for the Durham batsmen: "We have to give credit to the two batsmen Stoneman and Borthwick, they didn’t give us much luck, and in the end they did it at a canter. We were quite optimistic today, and with a bit of luck we could have got over the line today.

    "The team is tight and they deserved to get something out the season. It is very difficult to end up in this situation.”

    After surviving a catch at short leg on 101, which the umpires concluded had not hit his bat or glove, he finally departed when he spooned up one to Tom Alsop under the helmet for 137.

    Two balls later Dawson thought he had grabbed a second in quick succession when Graham Clark was struck on the pads, but the luck deserted the hosts again.

    Clark did return to the dressing room soon after when he was stumped off Crane before Borthwick was lbw to the leg spinner.

    The Ageas Bowl was left in eerie silence as Ben Stokes and Paul Collingwood ticked off the remaining 15 runs. 

    Until 11:30am, Hampshire had quickly got themselves into the position they wanted to get to, with an ideal first hour.

    But the man of the morning was Durham spinner Ryan Pringle, who celebrated his personal best figures of seven for 107, with a team campaign best of ten for 260 for the match. 

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