Chester returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 22-15 victory over Wharfedale that left both sides satisfied.
For Chester it ensured they immediately bounced back from their harsh loss to second-placed Sale.
And Wharfedale could head back to Yorkshire knowing a last-gasp penalty had brought the bonus point they needed to secure their safety with two games to play.
On a warm spring afternoon, and on a dry pitch, a match that should have thrilled the large crowd never caught light.
The opening minutes seemed to hold out hope for a comfortable Chester win after Freeman Payne crossed the whitewash for a well-worked try that was converted by Callum Bennett and that owed much to the good work of Mike Craven, captain Guy Ford and winger Harrison Vare.
But almost instantly Wharfedale restored parity with a carbon copy of the try they had just conceded.
Chester managed to build some strong field positions as the half proceeded. They found it difficult, however, to turn pressure into points.
At critical moments a soft penalty, a lost scrum, a handling error, a lost lineout or a turnover meant they were unable to turn the screw.
Wharfedale were also error-strewn. Indeed, over the 80 minutes they mishandled, or were turned over, 14 times in open play, including a golden scoring opportunity that would have put them in front midway through the first half.
They paid the price, too, when fly-half Bennett, benefiting from quick ball from an attacking scrum in midfield, carried the ball to the gain line before finding James Preston on his inside.
The winger did the rest, carving through a gap in the midfield and rounding the fullback for another well-worked try.
Chester were then hit by injuries to flanker Craven and No 12 Payne. That required significant adjustment, with forward Andy Bastin taking over in midfield.
Defensively the home backs held up well, while a simple game plan in attack, using Bastin to batter his way into the Wharfedale midfield, or create the impression that he might be about to do so.
First Vare and then Sean Green cut deep inroads into the visiting defence.
But it was forward sub Alex Reid who made the breakthrough, using quick ruck ball to find space 30m out and barge over for an unconverted try.
Wharfedale were not done yet, though, and an unconverted try reduced the deficit to 19-12.
There was no way back, however, after Bennett slotted over a penalty.
But Wharfedale were not downhearted for long with a penalty of their own sealing their survival.
Fifth-placed Chester return to action at fourth-placed Sedgley Park on Saturday week.
Chester Junior Colts sealed their place in the final of National Plate Under-17s Competition with a 22-19 win over Wolverhampton on Sunday.
Harry Craven, Dominic Dugan, George Campbell shared the scores for Chester, for whom Jordan Morgan added a conversion and Cameron Smith made a crucial last-minute try-saving tackle.
The final will take place at Sixways Stadium, Worcester, on April 30.
Chester 2nds lost 78-31 at Macclesfield 2nds on Saturday.
Christleton won a thriller, 53-45 at home to Oxton Parkonians.