TOM Moody's cherished ambition to leave behind a trophy in the Worcestershire cabinet before departing for Western Australia was left in tatters in the gathering gloom at Southampton last night.

With leaders Lancashire Lightning defeating Kent at Old Trafford, Worcestershire's setback handed the National League Division One title to the red rose county.

Worcestershire Royals, with one more fixture to play, will end the first season of the national league as runners-up, no mean achievement, but not what Moody had hoped.

Coach Bill Athey said: "We could have taken it to the last day if we had won, but at least we will finish second which is a good effort.

" It would have been nice for Tom and the others if we could have won the title, but we have had a great season in this competition."

Worcestershire's defeat was only their fourth in 15 matches but they would have expected to beat a Hampshire side which is facing relegation.

Moody did his bit, conceding only 14 runs in nine overs and dismissing the dangerous Jason Laney, but the later bowling let him down as Hampshire coasted home by four wickets and with nine balls to spare.

Moody had no hesitation in batting first and while he made only 15 there were useful contributions from Elliott Wilson, Vikram Solanki, David Leatherdale and, in particular, Graeme Hick.

Hick made an elegant 76 which included a six and five fours and he seemed to be on his way to another century until he gave Nixon McLean a sharp return catch.

Worcestershire's 236-7 looked as if it might be good enough as Hampshire reached 111-3 with only 16 overs to go. But the turning point was an aggressive stand of 68 in nine overs for the fourth wicket between Dimitri Mascarenhas and McLean.