He won the short programme section in a vote of four judges to three over Clive Shorten of Stevenage. Last year's runner-up, Neil Wilson from Dundonald near Belfast, is third going into today's final.
Shorten, 23, is on the comeback trail. He was second in this event in 1994, but had to withdraw last year due to injury.
Cousins, 24, agreed his performance was flawed but said he was pleased with his showing. "The British is the most pressurised event of the year. I stumbled on the triple axle but the rest of the programme was good," he said.Reuse content