Defeat dents Durham's title hopes
Hampshire 275 for 7 dec. and forfeit beat Durham forfeit and 225 by 50 runs
Two bowlers who have been injured for most of the last two seasons helped Hampshire to their first County Championship win of the season and inflicted a serious blow to Durham's title hopes.
With two innings forfeited in the rain-ruined match at Chester-le-Street, Durham were set what looked a generous target of 276 in 82 overs. However, the title hopefuls were all out for 225 with Dimitri Mascarenhas taking six wickets for 62 runs and Kabir Ali 3 for 69.
Although he was playing only his third championship game in two years following his Achilles injury, Hampshire must have sensed conditions were tailor-made for Mascarenhas when they declared on 275 for 7. The former England one-day allrounder's medium pace always proves very effective in the north-east whenever there is any moisture around and in his first eight overs he took 3 for 11.
Although Michael Di Venuto had less than his share of the strike, he had faced 23 balls when he tried to cut a ball which was moving into him and edged to second slip to depart for 1. In the last over before lunch Mark Stoneman padded up to a swinging delivery from Mascarenhas and was leg before wicket.
Then, straight after the break, Gordon Muchall played back to a ball which skidded on to him and lost his off stump. Will Smith made 31 before edging Ali to first slip and Durham were rocking on 79 for 5 before Dale Benkenstein and Phil Mustard revived them with a stand of 45.
Both batsmen were on 28 when Benkenstein drove at left-arm seamer Chris Wood and Hampshire's acting captain Jimmy Adams took a fine catch high to his left at wide mid-off.
With Callum Thorp coming to the crease there were still 45 overs left and survival was not really an option. He took 10 off Wood's next over, prompting the introduction of legspinner Imran Tahir. Thorp hit him for two fours in each of his second and third overs to move to 29 off 22 balls at tea and with Mustard on 36 Durham were 163 for 6, still needing 113 off 37 overs.
The target was down to 88 when Thorp departed for 43, replicating Ian Blackwell's dismissal by trying to pull a short ball wide of leg stump from Ali, only to glove it to wicketkeeper Michael Bates. In the next over Mitch Claydon drove at Mascarenhas and also edged to Bates, who completed his maiden first-class half-century in the morning.
It was as good as over for Durham when Mustard fell for 56, cutting low to Michael Carberry at backward point. Finally Rushworth hooked Mascarenhas to long leg and Durham had taken only two points from the match. They lead by eight points from Lancashire, but their three title rivals can all overtake them next week, when Durham are not in action.
Hampshire took 18 points but are still 32 adrift of safety and faced an unwelcome coach trip to Aberdeen after the match for a Clydesdale Bank 40 League match against Scotland, knowing the ground had been far too wet to stage today's game against Leicestershire.