Stirling County remain in a tense relegation tussle after an inept display against second-bottom Boroughmuir saw the Edinburgh team win a close contest to narrow the gap on the Bridgehaugh side at the foot of the BT Premiership.

County remain in seventh position in the league, three points ahead of both Gala and Boroughmuir, with two matches remaining, as all three clubs strive to avoid finishing in the relegation play-off position.

Ominously for County, they kicked the ball dead from the kick-off, gifting Boroughmuir early possession from a scrum on half-way.

But the hosts did recover and regained the initiative and stand-off Shaun Treweek opened the scoring with a successful 35-metre penalty kick.

Unfortunately, a County knock-on from the re-start, and then numerous attacking phases by Boroughmuir, the home defence were caught off-side, allowing David Reekie to kick a 25-metre penalty to draw the sides level.

On 13 minutes, things got worse as the visitors took the lead. A careless field kick by County was picked-up on half-way by Boroughmuir left-winger Jordan Edmunds who romped through to score a try under the posts, converted by Reekie for a 10-3 lead.

County tried to hit back immediately, but the Bridgehaugh side crucially missed a kickable 25-metre penalty attempt at goal on 30 minutes after Boroughmuir strayed offside.

Just before the break, County secured a penalty line-out within the visitors’ 22 on the left side and the home forwards pushed their retreating Boroughmuir counterparts backwards fully twelve metres before the visitors cynically collapsed the driving maul only 1 metre short of the try line. Clearly a penalty try should have been awarded, but inexplicably the referee only awarded a further penalty to County and took no further action against Boroughmuir. County failed to convert the subsequent penalty line-out, allowing Boroughmuir to hold their lead through the interval.

Four minutes into the second-half, Boroughmuir pushed County off a scrum in centre-field and replacement stand-off Chris Laidaw extended the visitors lead to 13-3 with a penalty.

County were then given a life line when outside-centre Nick Grigg won the chase for a loose ball and touched down for an opportunistic try in the left corner. The conversion was missed, so the visitors still led 13-8.

Boroughmuir then hit a successful 35-metre penalty kick by Laidlaw after County failed to clear the tackle area, giving the Meggatland side a 16-8 lead with ten minutes left.

The home side’s late efforts were rewarded with a pushover try in the 79th minute, after the forwards secured a penalty-line-out deep in the Boroughmuir 22. Hope kicked the conversion from the left wing to bring County within a point of ‘Muir.

Despite their being a series of injury stoppages in the second half, the referee did not add any additional time, and the match ended prematurely, with County having to be content with a losing bonus-point as the game ended 16-15 to the visitors.