RAIN proved to be the big winner as Hampshire's first outing of the year ended in a draw.

The covers were on for much of the contest at Ageas Bowl, as Northamptonshire visited for a two-day friendly.

When play eventually began, Hampshire batted first with Tom Alsop (31), Sam Northeast (23) and James Vince (18no) helping the hosts to 81 for five, before declaring.

Northants looked strong with the bat in reply.

Opening duo Ben Curran (45) and Ricardo Vasconcelos (30) both retired unbeaten, before Emilio Gay (22no) helped the visitors to 151 for five, where they declared.

Scott Currie was the pick of the bowlers with figures of one for 20 off seven overs.

However, there was to be no winner as the rain returned with Hampshire's second innings halted on 17 for one.