SOMERSET opened up a 10-point lead at the top of Group Two when their LV=Insurance County Championship game with Hampshire at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, ended in a draw.

Set an unlikely 459 to win from a minimum of 75 overs, the visitors closed a final day curtailed by afternoon rain on 88 for two, with Tom Alsop unbeaten on 23 and Sam Northeast 19 not out.

Earlier, George Bartlett had completed a fluent hundred, including 11 fours and two sixes, and Tom Banton contributed an unbeaten 51 as Somerset extended their second innings score from an overnight 323 for six to 409 for seven before declaring.

The home side took 15 points from the game to overtake arch-rivals Gloucestershire at the top of the group, while Hampshire claimed 14 and lie close up in third place.

Clearly feeling a draw would be more than satisfactory outcome in their position, Somerset batted on for 75 minutes at the start of the day.

Bartlett and Banton began cautiously, scoring only 14 runs between them in the first half hour before both cutting loose.

Banton moved to a 54-ball half-century with a six over mid-wicket off Ian Holland, the second time he had cleared the ropes.

Bartlett, unbeaten on 74 overnight, accelerated towards an assured century and reached it off 160 deliveries. When he skied a catch off the first ball of the following over, it signalled the declaration.

Holland and Cameron Steel began Hampshire’s second innings positively. But their hopes of batting through the remainder for the morning session were scuppered when Steel fell lbw for 14, playing across a delivery from Lewis Gregory.

Lunch was taken at that point with the scoreboard reading 30 for one. That became 39 for two when Holland, already dropped by Tom Abell at third slip off Davey, was bowled pushing forward to Gregory.

Northeast survived a tougher chance to Abell off the unlucky Davey, having made only four.

But from then on Northeast and Alsop batted solidly, overcoming a pacey spell from the River End by Marchant de Lange, including several bouncers.

The pair had added 49 when what started as light rain at shortly before 3.20pm quickly developed into a downpour.

Umpires Steve O’Shaugnessy and Peter Hartley ruled that play could restart at 5.05pm after an inspection.

But by then the 41.4 overs originally remaining in the game had been reduced to 19.4 and the captains decided to shake hands on a draw without further play.