Former Hampshire man Benny Howell almost came back to haunt his former club with a fine knock as James Vince’s side clung on for a two-run Natwest T20 Blast win over Gloucestershire.
The batsman struck a fine 50 from just 21 balls as he led the chase of Hampshire’s 180 for six.
But Howell’s heroic efforts came up just short as he was run out off the penultimate ball of the match as the home side sealed a tense victory.
Hampshire’s innings clicked into gear as Vince rattled off a fine 39 in just 20 balls.
The skipper, who scored a majestic 240 in the Championship victory over Essex, clattered seven fours and one six, before he holed out at long off as he went for another maximum.
Michael Carberry (five) had already fallen, edging behind after looking out of sorts, but Jimmy Adams (68 not out) held the innings together, while Glenn Maxwell made a quick-fire 30 from 16 balls.
With Hampshire racing along at the midway point in their innings at 97 for two, a score of beyond 200 looked on the cards.
But nobody was able to assist Adam’s crusade.
To be fair, Gloucestershire’s bowlers did their part in putting the brakes on, with David Payne (two for 25) the pick of the bunch.
And the innings eventually closed on 180 for six – a good score but not an insurmountable target.
While the visitors started at a rapid rate, a double strike from Will Smith (three for 26) in the ninth over removed both Alex Gidman (37) and Michael Klinger (17) to put Hampshire back in charge.
Matt Coles (two for 29) sent Ian Cockbain’s middle stump flying with a clever slower ball to leave Gloucestershire in trouble at 76 for three.
And he served up the same trick later in the same over to remove Hamish Marshall (10) in similar fashion.
Smith struck again when he pinned Chris Dent to leave Howell (50) to fight a one-man battle for his side.
Gloucestershire still needed 58 to win from the final four overs.
Howell was not about to give up, though, and had kept his side in the hunt by needing 20 from the final over.
That came down to eight off three balls, before he was run out going for a desperate second run.
His dismissal left the visitors needing a maximum from the final ball as Hampshire just about survived the scare.