Lloyd Determined to Make Up For Lost Time
November 17, 2022
Determined Jake Lloyd says he’s ready to ‘make up for lost time in 2023’ after inking fresh terms for next season.
Lloyd was an ever-present for Cornwall’s first eight Betfred League 1 games in 2022 before he was struck down by a serious elbow injury in the home reverse to eventual basement dwellers West Wales.
The former Great Britain amateur tourist endured a long road back to full fitness but after a gruelling rehabilitation programme, he returned for the final two matches of the Choughs’ maiden professional campaign.
A man-of-the-match showing against Oldham at loose forward demonstrated not only Lloyd’s ability but his versatility, with the Leigh born forward returning to the Memorial Ground in 2023.
“It almost feels like I have something to prove after I missed a chunk of last season through injury,” Lloyd told cornwallrlfc.co.uk.
“It felt good returning for the last couple of games (in 2022) but now it is just a case of getting stuck into pre-season. I want to get pre-season right and make up for lost time in 2023 and it was 100 per cent one the easiest decisions I have ever made to re-sign for next season.
“We have a great group of lads and a fantastic back-room staff and I know that we can use all of that to our advantage to have a great 2023.”
The playing squad that Lloyd was part of when he left the Mem field in real discomfort on May 15 was vastly different to that which he was part of when fully fit and selected again for the August 21 visit of Oldham to the Duchy.
Lloyd feels that not only were the names on Cornwall’s team sheet much-changed, but there was also an ‘attitude shift’ amongst the team which contributed to a competitive second half of the campaign.
“When I came back I was nervous because I had spent a long time out,” the 25-year-old added. “That wasn’t the only thing I had to contend with as there was also a big difference in terms of squad personnel, but the most notable thing for me was the attitude shift within the group of players.
“The lads dug deep, wanted to work for each other and by the end of the season, the whole environment was so positive. To kick on again next year with some real cohesion within the players will result in a much more productive 2023 campaign.
“Pre-season being productive and well-structured can ultimately be the difference between a good and a bad season. The important thing in this pre-season is that we work hard and we don’t waste the time we have got before the serious business starts.
“We don’t want to start the league fixtures looking for excuses if things don’t go our way so our programme in the next three months is massive for us.”
Lloyd will be hoping that he can start 2023 in the same manner as 2022 finished – wherever he is asked to play by new head coach Mike Abbott. Beginning his career at notable amateur club Leigh Miners Rangers, Lloyd has played predominantly as a hooker but feels that he has the tools in his locker to play loose forward also.
“I did okay against Oldham playing 13 and the fans recognised that,” he remarked. “I think I have joked before that I see myself as a ball playing 13 opposed to someone who is used as a bit of battering ram.
“Ultimately, though, I’ve always been under the impression that I play wherever the coach wants me to so I would play wing or front row if it was needed for the team. If my position is loose forward then I’m happy to roll my sleeves up and do it but if it’s somewhere else then I’m prepared to play with the same attitude.”
Lloyd’s signature for 2023 caps a busy past few days for the Choughs with the full fixture list for next term announced along with season ticket prices too. The opening three games Abbott and his troops all come against non-heartland teams with these ties an obvious target for early season points – as will be the same for Cornwall’s opponents.
However, Lloyd says that whilst a good start to 2023 ‘would be ideal’ he feels that the side are eyeing victories from more than just opponents who play out of rugby league’s traditional areas.
He said: “We have to play everybody and we have to play everybody twice. Results in this division can go either way but a good start to the season would be ideal to get some points under our belts early on.
“However, we want to win as many games as possible so we aren’t looking at the non-heartland teams for wins, but we want to take wins off all the teams in our division.”