Chester's downturn in form continued as they lost 17-5 to high-flying Sale at a bitterly cold Hare Lane.
The conditions clearly impacted on the players with numb fingers being unable to control the ball.
Chester’s handling errors were well into double figures by the end.
Sale were a bit more accurate, took more of their chances and hence deservedly won a match that was in the balance until the final 10 minutes.
The first half started strongly for the hosts with a driven lineout creating front-foot ball for Tom Foden, who made a weaving 25-metre break.
The ball was moved right where Chester had a three-on-two overlap, but a loose pass let a clear scoring opportunity go begging.
In the 12th minute Sale showed greater control, their No 8 breaking through weak defence close to a midfield scrum and making 30 metres up the pitch before belatedly being hauled down.
The ball was moved quickly to right-wing Ollie Longmore, who showed a good turn of speed to score in the corner. Fullback Dan Birchall converted.
Chester were showing much more ambition and cohesion in attack than in the previous week’s defeat at Harrogate.
However, on each occasion promising attacks broke down as their accuracy let them down.
Sale had their own problems, dropping balls, being turned over, and missing a relatively easy penalty.
This led to an exciting, if sometimes frustrating, half for the chilly spectators.
The second half began as the first had ended with both sides showing an adventurous willingness to attack but an inability to score.
Sale were beginning to establish a degree of territorial advantage but were unable to make it count, Birchall missing another penalty.
Chester managed some fine breaks, notably by forwards Ollie Hughes and Kyle Joseph, before finally managing to get on the scoreboard on the hour mark.
A penalty led to an attacking lineout on the Sale 22. Fullback Sean Green made a break in midfield before the ball was moved through six phases to the right where Harrison Vare showed quick feet, breaking up the five-metre channel and skinning two defenders.
Two passes infield put the ball into Mike Craven’s hands and he crossed for an unconverted try.
Only two points down with 20 minutes to play, Chester seemed well in with a real chance of getting a result.
However, they were unable to exit successfully from the restart and Sale were able to mount sustained pressure.
And in the 67th minute they moved the ball quickly left and then right, where wing forward Jack Moorhouse found himself in space and crossed for a try converted by Birchall.
Now 5-14 down, Chester continued to attack with skill and patience in search of at least a bonus point, but, as before, handling let them down.
And in the end Sale had the final word with a long range penalty from Gareth Rawling.
Chester, who have lost three of their last four matches, head to Wharfedale on Saturday.
Helsby, meanwhile, moved up to second in their league with a thrilling 29-17 home win over Liverpool St Helens 3rds.
Chris Goggin (2), Phil Arkell, Alex Walker and Matty Burns shared the tries, two of which were converted by Walker.
Christleton were 27-15 winners at home to Old Bedians.
Nicky Hughes, Steven Jones and Phil Scott-Heales scored the tries, all of which were converted by Jim Taylor, who added two penalties.