SIMON Jones has said that a defeat in the Guardian Cup final will make him more determined to return and have another go next season.

He almost completed a unique treble of beating three players from the same club to take the title at Winsford Cons on Sunday, only to fall short against Steve Curbishley.

“The best man won,” reflected the 51-year-old afterwards.

“But I love playing in these competitions, and I’ll be back to try again.

“I’m really chuffed to get to my first major final after going close a few times – it's certainly a boost to my confidence.”

The Tarporley ace has invaluable knack of raising his game against the best players.

He reached the Roberts Bakery Cup final last month, when he was unlucky to lose to Matt Hamman in the last eight, and was rewarded for his performance this time around.

A break of 10 in his opening match against Castle’s Jason Cornes, the only bowler to park up at Ways Green and know what it takes to win the Mid-Cheshire Bowling Association’s most prestigious singles knockout, stunned the five-time former champion.

He rallied, but Jones closed out a 21-13 victory with a minimum of fuss.

An epic battle with Adi Faulkner, Cornes’ teammate, followed at the semi-finals stage.

Jones demonstrated his resilience; he led the whole way, but his opponent had momentum – and, crucially, the jack – after rallying to 19-across.

“It could have gone either way,” he mused.

“A lot of the guys that reach finals day are county players and you just hope you can hang with them.

“I was really enjoying myself too.”

He was reminded of the ruthless nature of bowls at the highest level in the final.

After conceding the initiative by sending his first two woods into the gutter, he trailed 7-0 to Curbishley in the blink of an eye.

Jones said: “I was chasing him, and managed to nick a chalk here and there, but he was playing too well.

“Anybody would have struggled to beat him in that form, although I’m disappointed that I didn’t make him work harder.

“Steve deserves the credit though; he found a better length than me, and I couldn’t do much about it.”

Jones refused to be downbeat though, and knows his game is improving all the time.

That’s why he plans to enter the Mid-Cheshire Merit again in 2020.

“I’ve reached the last eight a few times, played in a semi-final and now the final,” he added.

“That’s what I’ll take away.

“It’s draining to play three games, one after the other, and I felt tired towards the end.

“But I can reflect only positively on what I’ve achieved.”