Hampshire’s Specsavers County Championship division one stay is over.
The Ageas Bowl side were relegated after Durham claimed victory in their season-finale, must-win clash by six wickets.
Chief instigator in their loss was the visitors’ opener Mark Stoneman
On his last outing for Durham, the Surrey-bound batsman frustrated the hosts with a near flawless ton, as the away side won with three overs to spare.
Hampshire knew they had to win, with Lancashire losing at Warwickshire, but were eventually left 10 points adrift at the bottom to end a two season stint in the top flight.
The home side had set a target of 296, after batting for an hour in the morning.
But other than a late flurry of wickets, they never looked like stopping the seemingly unmoveable Stoneman.
The pitch had been designed to assist Hampshire’s spinning trio of Mason Crane, Liam Dawson and Will Smith in the fourth innings, but Stoneman navigated the terrain with ease.
Scott Borthwick, also moving to Surrey, moved past 1,000 runs for the season on his way to 88.
Stoneman rode his luck with a few leg-before and bat-pad appeals, and was at his most fortunate to narrowly beat James Vince’s finger tips at mid-on when on 67.
After surviving a catch at short leg on 101, which the umpires concluded had not hit his bat or glove, he finally departed when he spooned up to Tom Alsop under the helmet for 137.
Two balls later Dawson thought he had grabbed a second in quick succession when Graham Clark was struck on the pads, but the luck deserted the hosts again.
Clark did return to the dressing room soon after when he was stumped off Crane, before Borthwick was lbw to the leg spinner.
The Ageas Bowl was left in eerie silence as Ben Stokes and Paul Collingwood ticked off the remaining 15 runs.
Until 11:30am, Hampshire had quickly got themselves into the position they wanted to get to, with an ideal first hour.
Lewis McManus had steered them to a competitive total with his third half century of the season.
After Crane had been caught at mid-on by Borthwick, wicketkeeper-batsman McManus had put on 41 with Gareth Berg, who scored 36.
But the man of the morning was Durham spinner Ryan Pringle, who celebrated his personal best figures of seven for 107, with a team campaign best of 10 for 260 for the match.
Along with Crane, he accounted for McManus, who was caught behind, before the declaration came and Durham chased – successfully.