Ulster show best form to stay in title race

Borders 15 Ulster 19

Simon and Neil Best claimed the scores which decided the issue at Netherdale, leaving the home side needing a miracle to avoid ending up on the Celtic League basement.

The Irishmen raced into the attack and pinned the Scots back inside their danger zone from the first whistle.

And they should have drawn first blood when Tyrone Howe surged clear of his markers but he paid dearly for a lapse of concentration as the ball slipped from his grasp.

Ulster kept up the pressure and it was no surprise to the crowd when prop Simon Best plough over.

Borders had a penalty opportunity to claw back three points, but Gareth Morton's effort drifted off target.

Ulster capitalised on the miss by bagging another three points thanks to a strike by David Humphreys.

But the home brigade burst back into the contest when number eight Semo Sititi celebrated his comeback from suspension with a fine try in the wake of clever work by skipper Kevin Utterson.

The home fans showed their frustration as Morton was wide with the conversion and a subsequent penalty.

But Tanner Vili took over the kicking duties to land the equaliser on the stroke of the break.

There was little to choose between the sides in the early stages of the second-half, but Humphreys bagged a snap drop-goal to edge the visitors back in front.

Neil Best effectively ended the Borders' challenge with the second try before Humphreys added another penalty.

Substitute Iain Fairley gave the Scots late hope with a try converted by Vili, but Ulster held out.

BORDERS: Morton, Moir, Stuart, Utterson, Turnbull, Vili, Armstrong, Johnston, Scott, Douglas, MacLeod, Stewart, Dalziel, Sititi, Brown.

Borders scorers: Tries: Sititi, Fairley. Cons: Vili. Pens: Vili.

ULSTER: Cunningham, S. Young, Stewart, Steinmetz, Howe, Humphreys, Doak, S. Best, Sexton, Moore, Longwell, Frost, Ward, Wilson, N. Best.

Ulster scorers: Tries: S. Best, N. Best. Pens: Humphreys 2. Drop Goals: Humphreys. Ref: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales).

Celtic League: Edinburgh Gunners 19 Celtic Warriors 30

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