Injury-hit Gloucestershire show their spirit
Hampshire 274 (Adams 138*, Miles 4-83) and 120 for 4 drew with Gloucestershire 400 for 4 dec (Klinger 163)
Gloucestershire are not in Championship action next week. They need a week off too after ending this match with four substitute fielders and their coach, John Bracewell, out of the country. But they will regroup satisfied with their first four matches of 2013.
Money is being ploughed into the facilities at Nevil Road and Gloucestershire need a team more suiting to an international venue. Hiring Michael Klinger as captain was step one and so far he has led performances that suggest Gloucestershire can compete more regularly this season.
"Northants completely outplayed us but the other games we've been on top," Klinger said following the draw with Hampshire. "I've asked the boys to maintain that intensity and discipline from this week and we'll have opportunities later in the season to push for the full points."
Piecing back together the bowling attack is Gloucestershire's main target ahead of the trip to New Road on May 22 - a match they will be targeting to win if they are to move up the table this season. Will Gidman's ankle is the biggest concern. Having been told he was not going to bowl in the remainder of the match he tried to open the bowling in Hampshire's second innings. He lasted two balls. It will not look good for the Gloucestershire backroom staff if Gidman now faces a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
But despite the problems - Jack Taylor picked up a shoulder problem, Hamish Marshall was ill and wicketkeeper Cameron Herring caught conjunctivitis - Gloucestershire got the better of Hampshire, who finished third last year and are widely tipped for promotion this season. The four days were a fillip for Klinger's developing side. They will be hoping their season follows a healthier pattern to last year - after winning at the Ageas Bowl in the second match of 2012, Gloucestershire went on to claim the wooden spoon.
The three results outside the defeat to Northamptonshire suggest that progress has been made. The wickets at Bristol are now friendlier for batting and Gloucestershire's batsman have more chance of setting up more matches for their bowlers. It's also so far so good regarding Klinger's form.
"I thought we did a fantastic job in two and bit days of cricket," Klinger said. "Full credit to our bowlers on day one I thought they were excellent. They started things for us and allowed us to control the game."
Hampshire have a bit of head scratching to do after a third failure in as many innings from the batsman. Jimmy Adams carried his bat in the first innings here - a knock that saved his side from being rolled for under 150. His coach was understandably delighted.
"Jimmy continues to lead from front," Giles White said. "He's the form horse in the County Championship. He's impressed again, played an innings that saved us and he does that time and again. He's mentally strong and is held in such high regard by the lads. He's grown into the captaincy from last year and done a really good job.
"We're disappointed here but we've got a make sure it's a blip rather than a dip. It's a long season and we'll have phases when we're not at optimum."
Hampshire would have raised an eyebrow to Michael Carberry being selected for England Lions - the player himself surprised at a call-up at 32-years-old - but it allowed Michael Roberts, a 24-year-old right-hander who signed a one-year deal last October, to make his Championship debut and prove his ability with an attractive 44 in 82 balls that led his side out of trouble, beginning the third innings 126 behind.
His dismissal, though, was disappointing, pulling a short ball from Craig Miles down the throat of deep square leg. The wicket briefly reignited Gloucestershire's faint victory hopes. They did all they could. No time was wasted in bringing up maximum batting points, the additional 116 was made in 24 overs, and a declaration 15 minutes after lunch gave them 61 overs to try and put Hampshire under pressure.
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo