HAMPSHIRE showed they can win without overseas aid after storming back into the LV County Championship promotion positions.
Director of cricket Giles White is looking for the county's fourth overseas player of the season for the last three Championship matches to replace Kyle Abbott, who is unavailable due to South Africa's Zimbabwe tour and next month's T20 Champions League.
But Hampshire's young attack, particularly Chris Wood and Matt Coles on his return to Canterbury, rose to the challenge as Kent were beaten by 196 runs yesterday.
Hampshire's fifth Championship win of the season, against a Kent side that had won its previous three matches, lifted them back into second place after rivals Surrey, who have played an extra game, were denied victory against Leicestershire on a rain-affected last day at Grace Road.
Wood, playing his first Championship match of the season following microfracture surgery on his left knee in December, followed an 85-ball 61 with a career-best 5-39 as Kent were bowled out for 191 in their first innings.
And after Kent began the final day on 95-2, needing another 406 for an unlikely win, Coles took the first two wickets to fall in his first Championship match at Canterbury since his acrimonious departure.
Coles took two wickets in as many overs; Daniel Bell-Drummond (44) edged a defensive push before nightwatchman Adam Riley was trapped lbw on the back foot.
Sub fielder Sean Terry, on for the hamstrung Will Smith (who expects to be fit for T20 Finals Day) ran in from deep square leg to give Wood (1-29) the wicket of Fabian Cowdrey. Darren Stevens lifted home spirits just before lunch by clubbing three sixes off the slow left-arm of Liam Dawson to send Kent into the interval on 187-5.
Kent's task became tougher following the run out of Sam Northeast (21) shortly after lunch. Backing up as Stevens called for a quick single, Northeast was sent back only to be beaten by Jimmy Adams' direct hit.
Sam Billings should have followed immediately afterwards, when he advanced down the pitch to Liam Dawson only to send a leading edge to short mid-off, where Coles fumbled the simplest of chances.
It was a rare mistake in the field for Hampshire, who were otherwise ruthless over the four days.
Coles made amends for the blunder by pocketing another top-edge when Stevens miscued an attempted sweep off Dawson to short fine leg.
Stevens' 81-ball 74 (seven fours, four sixes) had delayed the inevitable and included a stand of 63 in 14.2 overs with Sam Billings, who fell to a stunning diving catch at short third man from James Vince after attempting to sweep Danny Briggs' arm ball.
Mitch Claydon nicked to slip without troubling the scorers and though Doug Bollinger - on his farewell four-day appearance - flung the bat for a lusty, unbeaten 33 it was all over once left-armer James Tomlinson bowled Calum Hagget.
Hampshire are likely to field an inexperienced team when they play their final Royal London One-Day Cup group game on Thursday, a dead rubber against Yorkshire at the Ageas Bowl, ahead of Saturday's T20 semi-final against Lancashire.
When Finals Day is over, Hampshire will be concentrating on back-to-back home games that will go a long way to determining whether they return to the Championship's top flight after three seasons in division two.