Hampshire’s County Championship division one survival hopes have been left in tatters, after Andrew Gale scored a match-winning century to give Yorkshire victory at the Ages Bowl today.
The championship-lifting captain notched his third three-figure score of the season in the process of setting a new top-flight record of 265 points in a season for the visitors.
After looking in a strong position for all four days, Hampshire are now 16 points adrift at the bottom with one game remaining – and will need to beat Nottinghamshire next week and hope results go their way.
Captains James Vince and Gale concocted a result-producing scenario, with Yorkshire declaring their first innings on 97 for four – with Alex Lees on an unbeaten 31 – and Hampshire forfeiting their second digs.
That meant Yorkshire required 304 for an unlikely victory after being outplayed for two days, with the third all-but washed out, and the hosts needing to take 10 wickets.
It started perfectly for Vince’s side, as Alex Lees was beaten for pace by the speedy Fidel Edwards in the fifth over.
Two overs later, Hampshire were celebrating again when Jimmy Adams produced a stunning direct hit to runout the hapless Adam Lyth.
Gary Ballance made it three back in the hut in under 12 overs when he was caught down the leg-side to give the Gareth Berg his first wicket of the match.
Yorkshire were floundering at 37 for three when Leaning joined his captain to begin the match-winning partnership.
But the first hour was as good as it got for Hampshire as Gale and Leaning batted with purpose to give Yorkshire their 10th win of the season – a joint record in the County Championship.
Liam Dawson proved luckless twice in the afternoon session – firstly dropping a tough diving chance at second slip before he had a leg before shout turned down, as Gale appeared not to play a shot.
Edwards seemed to have made the much-needed breakthrough – after Leaning and Hale had eased through the afternoon session without any fuss – when he yorked Leaning but the umpire was duped into thinking there was connection with the bat.
Gale brought up his 20th firs-class century in 193 balls with a streaky edge for four.
In the over after Gale’s ton, Leaning wafted his bat unconvincingly to be caught behind – as a pumped-up Edwards finally found a way past the 21 year old – ending the 190-run stand.
But the run-making captain couldn’t see his side home when we topped edged a hook to Adams on the square leg boundary on 125 – Edwards striking with the new ball, the West Indian finishing a pulsating day with figures of three for 74.
But it was Yorkshire who found them on the right side of the forced result as Andy Hodd and Tim Bresnan marched past the winning target with a flurry of stylish strokes – with 4.5 overs to spare.