CHINNOR produced a brilliant first-half performance to beat Sale 34-21 on the opening day of the National League 1 season.

Three tries in the opening 40 minutes put the home team in control as they began the new campaign with a bonus-point victory.

It had been 547 days since the sides last played a league game – ironically against each other – and it took Chinnor just 50 seconds to open the scoring through Oscar Heath.

Caolan Ryan converted that try and in the ninth minute he was adding the extras again to make it 14-0 after Max Clementson forced his way over.

It was all a little bit frantic with Sale hitting back immediately through Tom Brady, Chris Johnson converting, but from then it was all Chinnor.

Two Ryan penalties extended their lead to 20-7, before Luke Carter scampered over – Ryan again adding the extras – following a slick move.

Sale reduced the deficit on 50 minutes when Jack Metcalf incredibly hacked his way to the try-line from his own 22 and Callum Morris profited to dot down, Johnson adding the extras.

However, the game was put to bed after the hour mark when Chinnor’s Conor Brockschmidt powered his way over from close range, James Bourton slotting the conversion.

There was still time for Sale to score their third try, Tumy Onasanya driving over out wide, Johnson converting, but Chinnor had already done more than enough to start the season with a five-point win.

It put the Kingsey Road outfit second in the fledgling league table.

Henley Hawks lost 25-19 to Old Albanian, but the result paled into insignificance following the sudden death of second row Dave Hyde.

The popular forward collapsed and passed away on Saturday night, having played in the National League 2 South defeat at Dry Leas that day.

Dan Watt opened the scoring for the visitors with a penalty, before converting Alessandro Ricci’s try.

Tom Emery went over and Henley added a penalty try, sandwiching another three points for Old Albanian, to reduce the visitors’ lead to 13-12.

But the damage was done in the final three minutes of the first half as Tom Mills and Watt touched down, the latter converting for his teammate, to make it 25-12.

To their credit, Hawks continued to battle and were awarded a penalty try in the last minute to claim a losing bonus point.

Elsewhere, Banbury Bulls thrashed Witney 60-24 in the opening-day Oxfordshire derby to go second in South West 1 East.

Oxford Harlequins claimed an impressive 38-9 victory at Chippenham, while Grove’s clash with Newbury Blues was postponed.