LEADERS Kempsey survived an early scare to beat Hanley Castle and Upton by six wickets in Worcestershire Cricket League Division Five.

Despite rain, the game started on time and Adam Hunaban and Sam O’Neill sent down three testing overs, after Zak O’Neill won the toss to insert Hanley, before play was halted.

A weather delay lasted just over 90 minutes which left Kempsey 23 overs for their innings.

Hanley could not take full advantage, however, as Sam O’Neill removed Will Chambers (4) and Ollie Price (4) before Hunaban snared Rory Mathews (5) and Barton Mathews (0) to leave Hanley reeling on 19-4.

Adam Troop and Dan Powell survived hostile bowling from Sam O’Neill, in particular, to nudge Hanley up to 55.

However, after stubborn defence, Powell (7) was well stumped by wicketkeeper Tristan Robinson off Simon Dorrell (4-16).

Troop went on the attack but, as he was starting to look dangerous, Dorrell had him caught by Adam Baker for a well-made 30.

Rich Foley and Grant Mathews looked like they were settling before the former was bowled by Sam O’Neill (4-40) for 24.

Grant Mathews (5) followed after a questionable lbw went against him, while Todd Mathews (0) and Harry Tippell (0) were cleaned up quickly to dismiss Hanley for just 105.

Kempsey sent in pinch-hitter Liaqat Hussain (17) and, after lusty blows and lucky edges, his luck ran out when he holed out to Rory Mathews at deep square leg off Price.

The division’s leading wicket-taker Todd Mathews (2-34) took the new ball from the other end and the spinner put pressure on the batsmen.

He trapped Dorrell (9) lbw before a mistimed drive from Mehrban Akhtar (2) found Chambers at mid-off to leave Kempsey faltering on 36-3.

Price (2-20) had Sam O’Neill caught well by Foley in the gull and the Pelicans felt they were in with a shout with Kempsey on 37-4.

The weather gods intervened again, however, and a short rain break finished Hanley’s challenge.

The tea interval gave Kempsey a chance to regroup and the conditions meant the ball stopped swinging.

The Pelicans ran out of ideas as Zak O’Neill (46 not out) and Robinson (19no) saw Kempsey home.