Even a declaration and double innings forfeit wasn’t enough to produce a positive result for Hampshire or Kent as the weather proved to be the only winner.
It had taken the first three days of the County Championship division two encounter for Jimmy Adams’ visitors to reach 229 for six in their first innings.
But after Adams and opposite number Rob Key thrashed out a deal on the fourth morning, the prospect of a victory for either side remained possible throughout an enthralling final day.
As agreed, Hampshire pushed their lead past the 300-mark in the first session before declaring and leaving the host with a target of 304 from 70 overs.
Dimi Mascarenhas (20) was the first batsman to depart, shouldering arms to a Matt Coles delivery that jagged back and took his off stump.
Joined by Kabir Ali, centurion Liam Dawson continued on his merry way and the pair added 48 as Hampshire closed in on 300 and an extra batting point.
Part-time bowler Brendan Nash came on to help Dawson & Co towards their declaration. But within two balls, Ali (30) had chipped an innocuous delivery straight to Key at short mid-wicket.
However, David Balcombe clipped his second ball down to fine leg for a boundary to bring about the declaration on 303 for nine – Dawson finishing unbeaten on 134 off 286 balls.
In Kent’s reply, Sam Northeast and Key put on 75 for the first wicket, either side of lunch, before Key played across a straight Ali delivery and departed lbw for 35.
Ben Harmison (11) followed when he dollied a catch to Adams at short mid-wicket off the bowling of Mascarenhas.
And after tea, as the hosts looked to begin their assault on the total, the dangerous Darren Stevens (28) went to the same bowler when Michael Carberry held onto a lofted drive.
A superb diving catch at cover by Adams then accounted for Northeast (79), giving Balcombe his first wicket.
Carberry completed his personal ‘hat-trick’ with two stunning catches at cover, to first remove Nash (18) off Ali, and then send Coles (18) back to the pavilion off the bowling of Tomlinson as Kent’s slim hopes of victory disappeared.
So it was left to Geraint Jones and Mike Powell to grind out the remaining overs and take the Kent score on to 220 for six – 84 shy of their target.