It was a milestone occasion for two Chester RUFC players at Hare Lane on Saturday.
Kyle Joseph made his 100th appearance for the club while Sean Green, who has risen through the ranks since joining as a teenager, made his 300th.
But they were unable to celebrate the landmark with victory as Sale won 40-10 to close the gap on top spot in National League 2 North.
The high-flyers, flowing with confidence after a five-game winning run, started strongly.
But the Chester defence worked well to keep them out, first resisting a strong line-out drive and then producing a fine last-ditch tackle from Freeman Payne under the posts.
However, it seemed only a matter of time before Sale scored and so it proved.
They quickly ran a scrum penalty close to the Chester line and, with the defence not reacting speedily enough, scored a converted try out wide.
From the restart the hosts managed to mount some consistent pressure and they were rewarded with a breakdown penalty kicked by Liam McGovern.
But Sale hit back before the first half was over following a series of rucks.
A third converted try followed three minutes into the second half following a lineout on the home 22.
In adversity the Chester pack was working hard, carrying the ball into contact after contact, but found it difficult to break down a well-organised defence.
The effort eventually told when they were pushed off their own scrum ball and the resulting penalty allowed Sale to set up an attacking lineout from which they moved the ball left and then right to notch a fine try.
Although they were now 28-3 adrift, Chester continued to play attacking rugby when the opportunity arose.
Almost from the restart, scrum-half Harry Craven intercepted a pass and, following a half break by Tom Foden, a penalty led to a line-out on the Sale five-metre line.
The pack then drove the ball over the line for Joseph to score a try that was converted by McGovern. However, any hopes of a comeback were dashed after an error following a lineout on the Chester five-metre led to a penalty try.
Sale then took advantage of tiredness to score their only unconverted try of the contest.
Chester, who remain 10th, will look to bounce back at sixth-placed South Leicester this Saturday.
Meanwhile, Table-topping Chester 2nds won 51-11 at Preston Grasshoppers 2nds last Saturday while the 3rds edged a close contest at Winnington Park 2nds 19-14 thanks to tries from Vaughan Ian Paddock, Brent Sullivan and Luke Huxley, two of which were converted by Henry Kershaw.
On Sunday, Chester Devas Ladies won 36-10 at home to Garstang Ladies. Ruby Hughes scored three tries, as well as three conversions, while Kim Youdan, Hannah Chadderton and Sally Conyers also touched down.
Christleton lost 39-7 at Liverpool University last Saturday.