County's inconsistent form continued with a well-below par display against mid-table Heriot's at Bridgehaugh last weekend.

County failed to show the pace and incision of the previous week's victory at Melrose, and have now won only one of their five home matches so far in this league campaign. County were without Sean Kennedy (who had played for Glasgow Warriors the previous evening) with Steven Gillies coming in at scrum-half. The forwards were missing Ruaridh Leishman and Tim Clarke through injury. Shaun MacDonald and Struan Robertson started, with Stevie Swindall returning to the bench.

County were caught flat-footed from the kick-off as Heriot's split the County rear-guard and quickly moved the ball from left to right, evading tackles, for Jason Hill to score an unconverted try in corner with less than two minutes on the clock, to give the visitors a five-point lead.

County responded and from a penalty line-out catch and drive Captain Alex Moffat touched down, with Brian Archibald converting to give the home-side a 7-5 advantage after seven minutes.

On 12 minutes, Heriot's were awarded a penalty after County pulled down a driving maul just short of their try-line, and from the resultant penalty line-out Heriot's caught the ball and drove over for an unconverted try scored by Fraser Brown, to regain the lead for the Edinburgh side at 10-7.

Heriot's continued to dominate up-front and County's pack did well under pressure to hold the ball up over their try line, before finally clearing the danger.

County were very pedestrian in attack, lacking speed and penetration, unable to find the final pass to break through the visitors' resolute defence. Winger Rory Hughes was unluckly not to pick-up a clever cross-field kick by Stuart Edwards just short of the visitors try-line. Just before the break County upped the tempo, and from a penalty line-out take by Robertson, the forwards drove towards the line, before Garry Mountford dived through a pile of bodies to score a try close to the posts, converted by Archibald to give County a 14-10 lead at half-time.

Swindall replaced Barsanti at the start of the second-half, and within three minutes Heriot's had reduced County's lead to one point from a penalty by Fraser Wilson after County's forwards illegally stopped the visitor's forward drive.

Through handling mistakes and poor field kicking, County gave away far too much possession to Heriot's who continued to attack at every opportunity, and the pressure on the home-side eventually told with Moffat yellow-carded for kicking the ball away in an off-side position within County's 22. Replacement hooker Josh Forrester came on with Macdonald sacrificed. Heriot's exploited the numerical advantage and stretched the home defence, with Mike Penn finding a gap in the left-corner to score a try converted by Wilson on 52 minutes, to put the visitors 20-14 in front.

Ross Aitken replaced the injured Archibald as County re-organised their back line, and Barsanti came on for Forrester as Moffat re-joined the action. County pressed forward and were held-up over the Heriots' line, before the visitors' cleared from a penalty.

The match began to open-up as players from both sides found space, and on 70 minutes Heriot's were awarded a penalty against County for not-releasing in the tackle, which Wilson kicked from 30 yards to increase the visitor's lead to 23-14.

County refused to give up and secured an important losing bonus-point with a length of the field move finished-off by Danny Gilmour who scored a try under the posts converted by Edwards with a minute remaining.

The loss meant County slipped to eighth position and Head Coach Graeme Young was clearly disappointed with his side, and will expect an improvement over the coming weeks as his team look to move away from the drop-zone.

Next Saturday County travel to second-placed Gala kick-off at Netherdale is 3pm.