Hugo Southwell leads Carlton into European action - but he will be back for Scotland v France

Hugo Southwell is building up for a busy week involving his two sporting loves of cricket and rugby.

Carlton are getting ready for European cricket.
Carlton are getting ready for European cricket.

On Sunday, he will fly out to Spain with Edinburgh club Carlton to represent Scotland in the European Cricket League 2022 T10 event.

And then, the man who earned 59 rugby caps for his country, will return in time to host hospitality at the Scotland versus France Six Nations game at BT Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon.

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Carlton will be playing Group C matches against Brescia from Italy, Cluj from Romania, Prague from the Czech Republic, Olten from Switzerland and Zeytinburnu Zafer from Turkey at the Cartama Cricket Oval in Malaga over the coming days.

Hugo Southwell won 59 caps for Scotland.

The winners of the group then return to Spain for Finals week from March 14 to 18 in an event that involves teams from 29 nations.

“We got through to this competition because we won the Masterton T20 trophy in the East last summer and then the national T20 competition,” Southwell, the 41-year-old who came through the cricketing ranks at Sussex as a youngster, explains.

“The guys played some great cricket in those events so they deserve this opportunity to represent the club and Scottish cricket as a whole on this big stage.

“Obviously T20 is a short format of the game, but T10 [10-overs-a-side] is even shorter so we have been working hard on strategies for the games at our indoor training sessions.

“As a batting unit we really have to be looking to score from every ball because the 60 in the innings will come and go very fast while as bowlers and fielders we just have to keep things as tight as possible.

“We don’t know a lot about our opponents, but we have a strong squad ourselves and it will be a great chance for the younger – and older – guys from Carlton to express themselves on this stage.

“I am really looking forward to it.”

The Carlton squad have been training hard under the watchful eye of coach Steve Gilmour, and the travelling group selected has a mixture of youth and experience as Southwell alluded to.

Three players have full international experience while five more have played age-grade cricket for Scotland. Carlton’s commitment to youth development can be seen by the fact that five of the squad have played junior cricket at Grange Loan over the years.

They will be led by Scotland T20 World Cup squad member Ally Evans while former Ireland cap Rory McCann will also be there, along with other experienced campaigners Fraser Burnett, Umair Mohammed, Arun Pillai and, of course, Southwell.

Fast forward to Saturday and Southwell’s thoughts will switch from scoring runs and taking wickets to scoring tries.

The former Edinburgh Rugby, Stade Francais and Wasps full-back was as disappointed as anyone with Scotland’s defeat to Wales in round two of the Six Nations, but he firmly believes they can bounce back against title favourites France.

“France are a very good team, there is no doubt about it, but away from home their discipline sometimes lets them down and in recent years Scotland have a good record against them at BT Murrayfield,” he explains.

“No one will have been more disappointed than head coach Gregor Townsend and captain Stuart Hogg about the manner of the defeat in Wales and there is still a championship to compete for.

“I really think Scotland can win this game.”

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