Hampshire 141 (Coad 6-37, Bresnan 4-53) and 321 for 6 (Adams 72, Rossouw 47, Bresnan 3-73) beat Yorkshire 273 and 187 (Ballance 55, Hodd 54*, Abbott 7-41) by four wickets
Hampshire are only in Division One because Durham were relegated in their place as punishment for needing a financial bail-out, but such was their composure in outlasting Yorkshire in a four-wicket win at Headingley, they are clearly not suffering from feelings of inadequacy.
Even allowing for Yorkshire's severely weakened attack, Hampshire chased down 320 under blue Headingley skies in unflappable fashion, beginning the day with a dogged 72 from Jimmy Adams and ended it in celebratory mood when Gareth Berg struck Ben Coad for a straight six to bring up a victory which arrived six balls into the extra half-hour.
Hampshire were always a little ahead of the game in their pursuit of 320, making light of a surface that still nibbled now and then. They reached the second new ball with 95 needed and six wickets remaining, and although they lost both Rilee Rossouw and Liam Dawson in the counter-punching that followed, an unbroken stand of 58 in 12 overs between Berg and Lewis McManus, built in the mould of gritty wicketkeeper-batsman, saw them home.
By the time Berg's straight hit soared into the Trueman Stand, Coad and his new-ball partner Tim Bresnan were as good as spent. They evenly shared 50 overs - 46 of them on the third day. Coad finished with match figures of 8 for 133 and an enhanced reputation as a lithe fast bowler of promise, as well as an insight into the hard work that lies ahead. Bresnan got through a heavy workload like an old trouper but Yorkshire lacked threat elsewhere.
For Yorkshire's new in-charges of captain Gary Ballance and coach Andrew Gale, the season has begun with defeat against a side expected to be at the wrong end of the table. Add the two defeats suffered at the end of last season and they have lost three in a row. With five frontline seamers out injured, their vulnerability was apparent - and Hampshire exposed it methodically - but it is their lack of top-order runs that will most concern them.
Hampshire were able to make light of a first-innings deficit of 132 because Kyle Abbott took seven wickets in Yorkshire's second innings with a grown-up bowling performance that immediately identified him as a key component of their season. Presented with such charity, they needed no second invitation.
With such a weakened attack, Yorkshire's need for new-ball wickets was even more pressing than normal. They had two chances but, crucially, both went astray. Adam Lyth spilled Adams at second slip off Bresnan on 11 and Michael Carberry escaped when Peter Handscomb failed to retrieve a tougher chance in the gully.
Instead of two-down for not many, Hampshire assembled an opening stand of 91. It was a stand to soothe nerves and raise expectations, an assertion that Yorkshire's patched-up attack could be tamed on a gloriously sunny day that made batting a pleasure.
The short ball did for Carberry. He was fortunate that one attempted hook against Josh Shaw fell safely and, although he did pull Patterson for six, he top-edged an attempted flip off Coad to Steve Patterson at long leg. He would have hoped to prosper for longer, but 41 was not a bad start after his lengthy illness and it was a pleasure to see him back.
Bresnan tried to bore Adams into submission after lunch without success and, as James Vince unveiled attractive drives on both sides of the wicket, as if carefully arranging a vase of flowers at appropriate angles, Hampshire got halfway to their target with only one wicket down.
Ballance turned somewhat reluctantly to Azeem Rafiq's offspin and it brought immediate dividends when he had Adams lbw. Vince's vase cracked on 44 thanks to an athletic return catch, low in his follow-through, by Coad, who is tall but spritely. Ervine never suggested permanence and he fell by tea, cutting at Bresnan.
Hampshire progressed cautiously to the second new ball, taken by two bowlers, Bresnan and Coad, who were already 17 overs into their day. That in itself was an indication that Ballance had been trying to win the match primarily with three bowlers: Rafiq was introduced only in mid-afternoon and Shaw conservatively used.
That new ball brought a rush of boundaries before Rossouw fell in identical fashion to Ervine, the only difference being that Rossouw, who looked a bit of a chancer, made 47.
The wicket Yorkshire most wanted was Dawson's and Bresnan snaffled it with a thrilling left-handed catch off his own bowling. Most counties would happily settle for conceding 37 runs to such a doughty cricketer, when defending 320 in a nip-and-tuck finish.
To observe Coad, at 23, plunge flexibly in his follow-through had been a reminder of the advantage of youth, but here was Bresnan, thick-set and determined, plunging through the air like Thunderbird 2 to bring up the prize. But any assumptions that Thunderbirds Were Go proved wide of the mark as Hampshire completed a victory that will do wonders for their self-esteem.
Hampshire know what it is like fielding a depleted attack - they did it throughout the whole of last season. As for Yorkshire, they will be aching for revenge at the Ageas Bowl before the month is out.