BRADFORD Salem were always going to find it tough away at Pontefract at the weekend, but their task became even greater when their skipper Christian Baines was dismissed for a high shot in the 30th minute.

This proved a bridge too far and a subsequent yellow card for Tom Cummins plus injuries to Isaac Lickley, Sam Gardner, John Morrell and Glenn Morrison meant that Salem played large periods of the game with only 13 men.

Unfortunately, that meant they suffered a huge 73-8 defeat to their West Yorkshire rivals.

Salem inflicted a surprise 24-22 defeat on Pontefract at Shay Lane in December and Saturday's hosts seemed intent on exacting revenge as they showed no mercy on their struggling opponents.

The game could not have started any worse for Salem as, straight from the kick off, Cummins elected to run the ball from inside his own 22 rather than clear to touch.

Scrum half Jamie Simpson's attempted clearance was charged down, allowing Pontefract to score on their very first taste of possession for a 5-0 lead after just one minute.

Despite this early set-back, Salem somehow managed to steady the ship and a good run from centre Morgan Mirzaali got them to within striking distance.

However, the visitors lost a five-metre line-out on their own throw so had to be content with three points from the boot of Jake Green to reduce the deficit to 5-3.

A poor clearance by Salem straight from the restart allowed Ponte to launch a counter-attack and slick handling led to a converted try to put the hosts 12-3 ahead.

With just under half an hour played, the rain started come down, and, in the slippery conditions, fly-half Sam Allan knocked on under his own posts.

From the resulting five-metre scrum, more good hands by the Pontefract backs produced a try in the right corner.

Skipper Liam Kaye landed the touchline conversion to extend his side's advantage to 19-3.

Then came the turning point as, from the restart, the Pontefract player returning the ball was stopped in his tracks by Baines, and, as the contact was clearly high, referee Jonathan Keeton had no alternative but to issue a red card.

The rest of the game became a bit of a procession for Pontefract, and, but for a brief respite in the second half when Green scored from a line-out, Salem were put to the sword by their rampant opponents.

The final whistle couldn't have come soon enough for Salem as Pontefract scored 11 tries to record a thumping 73-8 victory.

The Salem players must now lick their wounds ahead of next week's crucial home game against Huddersfield YMCA, which may well determine who finishes at the bottom of the table.