James Vince led the charge with a quick-fire 76 as Hampshire cruised past Durham’s target to claim a seven wicket victory at Chester-le-Street and move off the foot of the County Championship table.
Michael Carberry also contributed with 39 and Liam Dawson 34 unbeaten as the visitors successfully chased the 163 runs required to give Hampshire a vital win in their battle to avoid relegation in Division One.
Durham had earlier reached 200 after adding 66 runs for the final two wickets, although Hampshire were never in trouble in their reply and reached the modest target with seven wickets and a full day to spare.
The morning session fell victim to the weather after overnight rain in the north east, but Hampshire were quick to get stuck into the Durham lower order when play resumed after lunch. Ryan Pringle had added three runs to his total before edging a Gareth Berg delivery to the wicketkeeper, and John Hastings was trapped LBW the very next ball to leave the home side 134-8.
James Weighell offered some fight in attempting to increase Durham’s lead of 96, and moved on to 20 with three boundaries before Fidel Edwards was brought back into the attack. The West Indian dismissed Weighell with a yorker with his first delivery, leaving Durham just 126 runs ahead and nine wickets down.
But there was still some wag left in the tail. Neither Chris Rushworth nor Graham Onions could boast a batting average above 14, but the pair added another 36 to the total to give the hosts a much more competitive lead. Rushworth struck two sixes on his way to an important 33 not out, while Onions found three boundaries before Ryan Stevenson finally wrapped up the innings with his first wicket of the match.
Hampshire made a quick start in their chase of the 163 target, though most of the early runs came through Michael Carberry. The former England opener found the boundary four times before partner Jimmy Adams had even got off the mark, and while Carberry looked comfortable at one end, Adams was struggling at the other. The veteran managed three singles before leaving a Rushworth delivery that clipped his off stump.
The wicket didn’t seem to disrupt Hampshire’s chase with Carberry still cruising, although he did eventually lose his wicket with 88 runs required when he top edged a hook shot from Onions to depart on 39. And two brought three, as Will Smith was caught behind for a single run in Onions’ very next over.
James Vince offered good support at the other end though, scoring at roughly a run a ball with the visitors clearly keen to reach their target early and avoid having to come back for a fourth day. At the other end, Liam Dawson appeared happy to let him have the strike, although the all-rounder would build his own contribution as showers and bad light threatened to drag their chase into a fourth day.
Rain did halt proceedings at one stage in the evening session but it only delayed the inevitable. Vince hit consecutive fours to lead Hampshire to victory and finish on an unbeaten 76 from 65 balls, leaving Hampshire with a fighting chance of avoiding relegation from Division One.