BROOKSIDE - Betty Davis and Ashley Giddens are about to make history.
When the two step on the pitch today to start the Eastern Canadian rugby championships at Farnham Mill Rugby Park, they'll become the first members of the Truro Saints to suit up with the Nova Scotia Keltics senior women's squad.
"I can't express how excited I am, to be honest," Davis, a 29-year-old North River resident, said.
Davis and Giddens are two of 16 players from Colchester County who will be competing for provincial teams at the three-day event. Scott Brown, Robert Foley and Cameron McGinn are members of the under-16/18 boys team while Ali Munroe, Mashal Fida, Payson Saunders and Saren Labelle will be playing with the under-20 girls squad. The under-18 girls squad boasts the most Colchester talent with Sara Gandy, Samantha Ellis, Meghan MacEachern, Meagan McNutt, Amy Unicomb, Claire Matheson and Sarah Mantin on the roster.
The event is attracting 22 provincial teams from Eastern Ontario, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia, bringing up to 700 players.
"So the level of players we'll be playing with and against is by far the top in the Maritimes," Davis, a No. 6 flanker, said.
Action gets underway at 9 a.m. when the Keltics under-16/18 team takes on New Brunswick. Action continues throughout the day until the senior women meet Newfoundland at 7:30 p.m. The opening ceremonies will be held at noon. The event will also include a reunion on Saturday for anyone involved with the Truro Saints over their 37-year history.
With the tournament attracting so much top talent, scouts also attend from universities and national programs looking to woo players.
Getting the chance to play on such a big stage on home turf is one of the highlights of a rugby career for a pair of players with loads of accolades to their credit.
"Want to show our ability on the field and that we can compete at any level regardless of how old we are," Davis said. "But being on home turf and having the facility we do, it's going to take our game to an elite level."
It's been a long road to get here for both players, who started training with the team over the winter before going through a tryout process in April. But both are better players for it.
"When you play with better people it allows you to be better too," Giddens, a prop, said. "The coaching is just so good. They're really good at taking people and making them into better players."