ROB Winnington has said his victory in the Guardian Cup final means he is less daunted at the prospect of taking on the best bowlers in the country this weekend.

The Castle member is one of four men from the Mid-Cheshire Bowling Association to have qualified for the British Senior Individual Merit – or the All England Championship as players prefer to call it – in Nuneaton.

And he makes the trip buoyed by claiming a major singles title earlier this month.

“It makes a difference,” he said.

“The timing is perfect for me, because I’m feeling good about my game and want to take that into a big competition like this one.

“You want to be in the best form possible because the standard at the All England is so high, and I expect it to be no different on Saturday.”

Winnington lost narrowly to Pete Illidge, of Rudheath, in the Cheshire Senior Merit final last month.

However the 34-year-old recovered to end a decade-long wait for a second Guardian Cup victory.

A starring role for his club in a thrilling Brunner Cup semi-final success against favourites Tixall last weekend, when he brushed aside Andy Hayes (21-12), will help too.

“I’ve been playing well the past couple of seasons, only to suffer in finals against some of the top players in the game,” he said after Guardian Cup finals night at Comberbach.

“I think I’d lost six big finals in a row before this one, and that affected me.

“I needed to savour that winning feeling again, and to get over the line in a big tournament.

“There have been moments when I’ve taken a bit of stick, and been called a jelly arm and other things, but I’ve hopefully laid that to rest.”

A first-round meeting with John Taylor, who won the event in 1993 when he defeated Bob Gilfillan (North Midlands) in the final, is a testing one.

He is one of only four former winners – Wharton Cons star Tom Vickers is another – to have won the competition previously.