DEPLETED Bradford Salem slipped to a 47-7 defeat at rivals Old Crossleyans in Yorkshire One.

With a growing list of injuries, Salem were forced into calling up their old guard with five of the squad, Simon Markey, Dave Luxton, Richard Langhorn, Dan Scarbrough and Ian Woodwiss, having a combined total of 204 years between them!

Furthermore, the firm pitch at Broomfield Avenue was always likely to suit a younger and fitter Old Crossleyans side.

Nevertheless, Salem played with tremendous character and a heroic defensive display, particularly in the second half, made Crocs work hard for their victory.

In fact, the Bradford side won many plaudits from a good-sized crowd which was treated to a number of memorable moments, including former England international Scarbrough turning the clock back as he unceremoniously dumped No 8 Ryan Hammond on his back-side.

In near-perfect conditions, Crocs took the lead after five minutes when a well-taken try by winger Josh Hunt was improved by full back Callum Dunne.

Salem responded well, and, with 12 minutes gone, referee Gavin Pender awarded them a kickable penalty for a high tackle on flanker Sam Savage.

However, skipper Jamie Simpson chose to go for touch, a decision which was vindicated as good hands from the line-out gave centre Chris Clough the opportunity to dummy his way over the line, Simpson converting to bring the scores level.

The home side retook the lead midway through the half when Jack Hammond sent his centre partner and brother Billy through Salem’s midfield defensive line for an excellent try, Dunne adding the extras.

The visitors were then dealt a major blow when Savage suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury he sustained four weeks earlier at Heath, meaning Clough had to move into the pack with Scarbrough joining the fray at centre.

In spite of this setback, Salem were soon on the attack but a dropped ball enabled Crocs to launch an audacious counter-attack as Billy Hammond out-paced the cover defence to score by the posts, Dunne’s conversion making it 21-7.

Then straight from the restart, more swift handling in the backs created a try for Dunne wide out on the left to give the Halifax side a 26-7 advantage at the break.

Crocs dominated possession for the opening 15 minutes of the second half, but, despite putting multiple phases together, Salem somehow managed to stop them scoring.

However, the pressure was always likely to tell and eventually prop Sam Ives crashed over from close range for a try which Dunne improved.

Crocs extended their advantage when burly prop Jack Pilcher showed deceptive pace as he brushed off several defenders to score under the sticks.

The scoring was completed with just under five minutes left as more pressure allowed Hammond to complete his hat-trick, Dunne landing the conversion to seal a 47-7 win.