SEDGLEY Tigers' slim chances of promotion were ended in what coach Geoff Roberts described as a "disastrous day" for the National Two North side.
The Park Lane outfit needed to beat second-placed Sale to keep their hopes alive of pipping them to the play-off spot.
But the Cheshire visitors, who won the reverse fixture by a single point, showed their class in a comprehensive 42-10 victory.
An uncomfortable afternoon for Roberts and his men was made all the more difficult by the fact they were humbled in front of a bumper 500-strong home crowd, which included a host of former Sedgley players attending what is hoped will become and annual club reunion.
The only silver-lining on the day was a defeat for Leicester Lions against leaders Caldy, which ensured the Tigers kept their place in third.
Roberts said: "It was a bit of a disastrous day.
"Lots of mistakes were made and we didn't play well as we weren't ticking at all. We kept losing the ball."
It was hoped the match could double up as a day of celebration, but the Sedgley coach said his players' "collective no-show" dampened the high spirits.
The match was tight for the opening 20 minutes.
Sedgley's Steve Collins kicked a penalty early on to put them 3-0 up, but a converted try from Sale was followed by a Johnny Matthews' yellow card and the floodgates opened.
Sale ran in another two tries before half time, which gave the home side some much-needed respite.
They came out eager to make amends and Bob Birtwell's try, converted by Collins, two minutes after the break briefly gave the partisan home crowd hope of a comeback.
That hope was quickly stamped out as Sale countered with three converted tries of their own.
Roberts is hopeful they can bounce back in the final four league games of the season to ensure they do not slip down the table.
He said: "You can't win every game but we want to finish third.
"In theory, we have the easier fixtures and if we play our best we should be able to hang on to third spot."
Sedgley travel to Wharfedale on Saturday and face a trip to strugglers Scunthorpe (April 8) before their final home game of the season against Chester on April 22.
They then end the campaign the following weekend at champions-elect Caldy.