BRADFORD Salem, missing seven key players, were put to the sword 68-17 by an in-form and rampant Beverley side who, since the turn of the year, have amassed 268 points in a six-match winning streak in Yorkshire Division One.

The game kicked off in near perfect conditions at Beaver Park and the tone was set as the Beverley ball-receiver was unceremoniously smashed to the ground by Salem second rower To’i Auali’itia.

The big Kiwi, who was making his debut, hails from the same club, Sydenham in Christchurch, as prop Callum King, who, conversely, was making his final appearance for Salem.

In spite of the initial impact, Beverley somehow managed to recycle possession and, in the opening minutes, they played with a speed and intensity reminiscent of England in recent internationals.

Salem did their best to contain this early pressure but they could not prevent Beverley taking an early 7-0 although the hosts suffered a blow when Sam Kerry was injured in the build-up, the former England Under-16s player falling victim to the old adage that props shouldn’t attempt a side-step.

The loss of Kerry seemed to have little affect as Beverley soon extended their lead to 14-0 when they drove over from a five-metre line-out.

Salem hit back when a superb break from scrum-half Jamie Simpson got them to within striking distance of their opponent’s line. However, the writing was on the wall as winger Liam Barker was unable to hold on to a flat pass with the line at his mercy.

Beverley had no such problems on a day when every ball seemed to go to hand and they scored three tries, all converted by fly-half and captain Phil Duboulay, to give the home side a healthy 35-0 advantage at the break.

To their credit Salem came out fighting in the second half, and, after good runs from Christian Baines, Nick Fontaine and Ben Whitaker, fly-half Dan Scarbrough, ghosted through for a try to reduce the deficit to 35-5.

Shortly afterwards, the ex-international, who was up against his former Saracens and England team-mate, Ben Skirving, put in a massive hit that was reminiscent of the huge tackle he made on South African full-back Percy Montgomery in 2007. However, the 41-year-old was hero turned villain when, after having a kick charged down, he cynically took out an opposition player and was rightly given a yellow card.

While down to 14 men, Salem conceded three tries in quick succession as Beverley raced into a 61-5 lead.

When Scarbrough re-joined the fray, he clearly wanted to make amends for his misdemeanour and his midfield break set up a try for 17-year-old flanker Mikelis Jurevics.

This seemed to spur Salem into action, and, when Fontaine scored a try improved by fellow centre Jake Green to reduce the arrears to 61-17, they had the sniff of a bonus point with just over five minutes remaining,

However, perhaps fittingly, Beverley had the final say as Duboulay cantered under the sticks for a try he improved himself to seal an emphatic victory.