Centre Adam Warren scored for the second game running to end Scarlets’ poor run of form against Irish opposition in their 24-17 RaboDirect PRO12 defeat of Ulster.
The Scarlets had lost their lost ten matches against opposition from across the Irish Sea but a try in each half from Liam Williams and Warren ensured a measure of revenge after Ulster did the double over Nigel Davies’ side last season.
Ulster, despite welcoming back six internationals to their starting XV, meanwhile have now lost their last four matches and came away from Parc y Scarlets with just a losing bonus point despite Andrew Trimble’s delightful try from Ruan Pienaar’s clever kick.
Both teams struggled to master the conditions in the opening half with knock-ons occurring with frequent regularity.
It was the visitors who broke the deadlock after nine minutes as Ulster fly-half Ian Humphries split the posts with a penalty on nine minutes.
His opposite number Aled Thomas missed the first opportunity on 16 minutes but a brace of penalties gave Scarlets a 6-3 lead.
That advantage was extended on the stroke of halftime when a good passing move culminated in winger Williams crossing for a try converted by Thomas.
An even bigger cheer greeted the return of Wales captain Matthew Rees who took to the field on 46 minutes for the first time since the neck surgery that ruled him out of the World Cup.
Humphries missed one chance to reduce the arrears but made amends moments later following a bright piece of play from the visitors.
But Thomas soon replied for the hosts after Scotland international Sean Lamont had caused panic in the visiting ranks who were caught offside.
The teams continued to trade penalties when a great piece of improvisation by Pienaar led to Scarlets illegally trying to slow the ball down and Humphries’ kick made it 16-9.
South African scrum-half Pienaar was showcasing his full range of talents in attack and a brilliant crossfield kick caught the Scarlets napping allowing the onrushing Trimble to touch the ball down one-handed.
In the absence of a television match official, referee Alan Falzone consulted his touch judges before awarding the try.
Humphries would have drawn the visitors level with his conversion only to see his kick come back off the post.
Memories of last season’s encounter when Pienaar’s last-gasp 55m penalty earned Ulster an improbable win were firmly in the minds of the crowd at Parc y Scarlets in a nervous last quarter.
But a huge sigh of relief was breathed when, after hammering away at the Ulster line Thomas offloaded to Warren on the angle to touch down.
The conversion was missed meaning Ulster were still in the game but Dan Newton’s superb angled penalty with four minute left took the Scarlets a score clear.
However with a minute left Humphries’ penalty ensured Ulster at least had the consolation of a bonus point but after losing four straight games alarm bells will be ringing for Brian McLaughlin.