Scarlets stun Codling's men
Ulster A 7-23 Scarlets Select
The festive season was in full swing at Ballymena's Eaton Park, so the fact that the day's main event spectacularly failed to match the general feel-good factor wasn't really too noticeable.
The relaxed mood, though, wasn't in any way shared by Ulster A coach Alex Codling whose side had been comprehensively out-played and beaten 23-7 by a Welsh squad who had managed to win their first game - and gain their first points - in four outings since being put together for this season's British and Irish Cup.
And the shock result not only meant that the Scarlets side had spectacularly turned the tables on Ulster from the week before - when the province got a bonus point win in Wales - but, more importantly, the outfit who are still rooted to the bottom of Pool Two had also probably ended Codling's plans to reach the B&I Cup quarter-finals.
"Ultimately we didn't do what we needed to do and we got burnt, it's as simple as that," Codling said.
"Technically I think it's still open," he said of Ulster's qualification hopes which now sees them third, one behind Bristol and five adrift of leaders Bedford Blues who they host next month in a simply must-win encounter.
"We'll just take the next game on its own and not worry about the bigger picture," he added
It had started so well with Ulster being awarded a penalty try after just five minutes, which Sam Windsor converted, but with the wind at their backs they couldn't add to their 7-0 lead even with Scarlets flanker Shaun Evans binned on 28 minutes.
Soon after the restart came the key moment when Ulster A blew a try which actually allowed the Scarlets to score with Gavin Thomas snaffling a loose ball and running the length of the field.
After Rob Lyttle was binned - at this point the Scarlets led 10-7 - the Welsh racked up 13 further unanswered points to thoroughly ruin everything for Ulster.