GLOUCESTERSHIRE were unable to force a win against promotion contenders Hampshire on the final day of their County Championship game at the Ageas Bowl.

James Vince and Sean Ervine both hit half-centuries as the hosts closed on 213-6.

Gloucestershire began on 446-5 and added a further 58 for the loss of three wickets before declaring at 504-8 – a lead of 207.

When Will Gidman (119) was caught behind, former Hampshire duo Adam Rouse (16) and Benny Howell (38) soon followed, promoting the declaration.

Hampshire were given 80 overs to survive but hands were shaken when they erased the deficit.

Gloucestershire trialist Rouse, who was released by Hampshire at the end of last season, took another four catches, beginning with two in ten balls as Hampshire lost Michael Carberry and Will Smith in the opening nine overs.

Jimmy Adams (31) put on 68 with James Vince before he was given caught at short-leg off the slow left-arm of Tom Smith (2-62), a decision that infuriated Hampshire’s normally mild-mannered captain.

Adams kicked his gloves over the boundary rope as he walked off in frustration and in the last over before tea Joe Gatting (11) was caught behind.

Vince reached his fifty in hitting three fours against Will Gidman in the first over after tea. But he was soon caught at the wicket for 63 off 95 balls after attempting to cut the slow left-arm of Smith.

However, Ervine’s unbeaten 57 coming from only 81 ball and his partnership of 74 in 21 overs with Adam Wheater (29) all but secured the draw.

Hampshire were grateful for an unlikely century partnership between last-wicket pair James Tomlinson and David Balcombe in their first innings and the loss of more than two sessions to the weather.

Otherwise the loss of seven wickets for 38 runs on the first day would have cost them the game, Liam Norwell taking 4-103 after being recalled to the Gloucestershire side.

Will Tavare (86), Hamish Marshall (56) and Ian Cockbain (61) all scored half-centuries in Gloucestershire’s first innings with Will Gidman’s first ton of the season putting them firmly in the driving seat.

In the end though they had to settle for 12 points and drop to seventh in the Division Two table, 53 points behind Hampshire, who claimed eight points to move up to second.