In The Second Of A Two Part Feature, David Clegg Continues His Series Reviewing the Season Through The Eyes Of Up And Coming First Teamers, With Centre Jake Bibby
After two successful outings against Widnes, at the Magic Weekend, and then at home to Wakefield Wildcats, his selection, the following week, for the home fixture against Wigan was particularly special to him, as a Wigan lad.
“I’d watched them since I was a boy,” he reflects, “so it was great to be turning out to face them as a player.  I told myself that this was an opposition to really test myself, and prove myself against, and I felt I did all right, to be honest.”
He certainly did, with it being he, who put through a little kick into the left corner, with Michael Dobson touching it down for a score.
“I just saw the line in front of me so stabbed the ball into the in-goal,” he modestly relates.
A week later, however, it was a case of so near yet so far, when, in atrocious conditions, he was unable to break the Red Devils’ duck, in the 8-0 defeat, with what was to prove to be their best chance of a score, early in the game, against Leeds, at Headingley,.
“The ball was bouncing around just in front of the try-line, and I didn’t know whether to dive on it, or pick it up,” he muses.  “I ended up trying to pick it up, but, with the weather being so wet, dropped it.”
Frustrating as this must have been, he showed a very sensible, level headed attitude by refusing to allow it to affect the rest of his game.
His final outing was against Huddersfield, which proved to be something of a disappointment with his picking up an injury shortly after coming off the bench, when he took a normal carry forward, but the angle of the tackle took its toll on him.
“I got up and played the ball but it felt quite painful,” he explains, “but then, after the next tackle I just couldn’t get up at all, so I was brought off.”
During his quite protracted run of appearances, Jake is quick to acknowledge the help, support and guidance he received throughout that time from his fellow players, especially his centre, Josh Jones.
“Josh Jones spoke to me a lot, and, particularly in my first Super League game against Widnes, he helped me a lot,” he acknowledges.  “To be fair, all the lads helped me, and particularly helped boost my confidence.  Junior Sa’u, for example, always came up to me, at the end, to have a few words of encouragement with me, and to pass on a few tips.”
As for the rest of the season, he has remained training with the first team, on standby, just in case he had been needed.  Now that the season is over, he is gearing himself up for next season, as he is very keen to become recognised primarily, as a second rower.
“Playing there, for Crusaders, has really whetted my appetite,” he confesses.  “I’d like the chance to play it at Super League level, so now I’m building myself up, to help my chances.  Also, I would like to play in more games, next season, to back up the successes of this last one.”
Next Time, David Clegg Meets With Super League Debutant, Connor Williams