Warwickshire v Hampshire: Hants draw at Edgbaston to ensure Division One survival
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Edgbaston (day four):|
|Warwickshire 188: Sibley 92*; Edwards 5-49 & 186: Bell 77*, Berg 3-40|
|Hampshire 116: Bailey 55; Hannon-Dalby 4-29 & 195-7: Berg 34, Vince 30|
|Warwickshire (8 pts) drew with Hampshire (8 pts)|
Hampshire produced a defensive batting masterclass as they saw out the day at Edgbaston to save themselves from the drop by holding on for a draw with already-relegated Warwickshire.
England tourist James Vince led the way with a heartening 30 made in more than two and a half hours.
That kept Hants up and condemned 2016 county champions Middlesex to the drop.
Having started the final day of the season on 20-1, they made just 175 runs in the day to reach 195-7.
It was a more satisfactory outcome than last season's final-day drama when Hampshire were relegated after losing to Durham, only to then be reprieved.
With just 15 balls left, Olly Hannon-Dalby bowled Gareth Berg for 34, causing late flutters in the Hampshire dressing room - but Craig White's side held out.
Aided by the loss of the first hour's play due to a wet outfield, all of Hampshire's batsmen stayed at least half-an-hour at the crease, with the exception of George Bailey.
The Hampshire skipper was out lbw when reverse-sweeping for a second-ball duck, the second of two victims for spinner Jeetan Patel.
At 72-4, the veteran New Zealand spinner might have expected to run though the visitors, but Warwickshire managed just three more wickets.
Two of those went to their late-season Australian find Ryan Sidebottom, who ended with 3-55 to take his tally of wickets for the Bears to 30.
Warwickshire, in last place, finished a massive 60 points adrift of eighth-placed Middlesex, who were relegated by just a point.
But the Bears have at least ended the season with two far more encouraging performances.
After last week's narrow defeat by Yorkshire at Headingley, it was a comparative triumph for skipper Jonathan Trott, who having been beaten in his first five matches as Bears captain, at least avoided defeat.
Warwickshire first-team coach Jim Troughton told BBC WM:
"It was a good effort from our boys. We knew that Hampshire were fighting for their lives.
"It was reminiscent of the last day of the 2011 season down in Southampton when we needed to get their last seven wickets to win the title. They managed to keep us out then and again today.
"We gave it everything because we wanted to win. We are down but it was nice to be in a position on the fourth day where you can set attacking fields and push for a win. It is something we have not done a hell of a lot this year."
Hampshire's James Vince told BBC Radio Solent:
"It was another narrow escape for us but we have played some much better cricket this season. Unfortunately it came down to this last game in the position we were, but the lads showed a lot of fight.
"Our mindset was to bat normally and the runs would probably come before the end of the day but we lost those three quick wickets after lunch and they were bowling pretty well, so Daws and I shut up shop.
"I was battling a few natural instincts out there but the way the game was set up it was pretty clear what we had to do. Then they got another sniff after tea but we saw it through really well."