SIMON Byrne raced to his best result in the Oxford Cross Country League, as Swindon Harriers’ senior men strengthened their grip on the promotion race.

The 30-year-old joiner from Swindon continued his good autumn form – the week before he secured third place overall in the 2018 Wiltshire Road Race League - as he finished fourth in the league’s second fixture, held on a tough course around Cirencester Park on Sunday.

Byrne was chased home by clubmates Sergio Martinez-Gonzalez and Courtenay Chessell, who finished seventh and tenth respectively while Ethan Pierce battled to finish 22nd with fellow junior Daniel Patel in 52nd.

A surprised Byrne admitted afterwards he was pleased with his own performance, the suitable backup behind simply served as a bonus.

He said: “To finish fourth was actually quite a surprise and I am not sure how that happened.

“The course suited me with a big hill on each of the three laps and it was pretty muddy underfoot while on the day I felt strong.

“I finished ahead of Sergio (Martinez-Gonzalez) so maybe he was a bit under the weather and not as strong as normal.

“It all just seemed to fall into place and that was my best run ever in the league by far.”

Harriers’ combined efforts on Sunday put them onto 299 points to edge out Witney by 12 in the Division Two standings.

There were additional positives for Clinton to take as Harriers’ youngsters also impressed as they defeated Radley to win the team competition.

Patrick Mochan led the way finishing second overall with Ben McIntyre and Jack Latus completing the scoring in eighth and tenth respectively.

The under 13 boys’ squad of Fletcher Hart, James Bagot and Samuel Rai also claimed victory in the under 13 boys’ age group to open a three-points advantage over Radley.

The best result in the female races came from the under 17/15 girls squad of Lavinia Rai, Kelly-Marie Marsh and Rachel Oran as they finished joint third along with Oxford City’s B team.

Katie New led the Harriers to fifth place in the under 13 girls’ race while leading athlete in the under 11s was Khaya Swaine in fifth.

Clinton said: “The seniors did enough to win and promotion remains the absolute minimum for us this season.”