Rugby and Royalty combine at leading Christmas sports event in Birmingham

Mike Tindall, Rugby World Cup winner and husband of the Queen’s grand-daughter Zara Phillips, is the guest of honour at this year’s Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon on Wednesday 12 December.

It represents another coup for organisers Eventmasters, the Birmingham-based UK sports hospitality agency – last year Sam Warburton, captain of the British & Irish Lions, provided the inside track on the 2017 tour to New Zealand.

Midland's Sportsmans Luncheon Hospitality

Our annual Midlands Sportman’s Luncheon has played a pivotal role in raising funds for the Wooden Spoon charity

Tindall’s take on the current England side and their chances in the 2019 World Cup in Japan will be particularly fascinating.

And no doubt there will be plenty of anecdotes from England’s 2003 victory.

Master of ceremonies will be Tim Stimpson, another England international.

Since retiring, Tindall has continued his rugby commitment, back at the grass roots with amateur club Minchinhampton RFC, who compete in Gloucester 2 – the pitch is conveniently located next to Gatcombe Park where he and Zara reside. Tindall, who with Zara, has all sorts of charity commitments, will during the afternoon present cheques to representatives of LoveBrum, Scotty’s Little Soldiers and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham charities who are the nominated benefactors of the Eventmasters Charitable Foundation. A series of fund raising activities have been carried out throughout the year. A silent auction will operate during the event.

Eventmasters managing director Denise Sheasby said:

“We are thrilled that Mike has accepted our invitation to be guest of honour.

“He is hugely admired across the rugby world and is sure to provide some amazing insights from his time in the top echelons of the game.

“Charity is close to my heart and Mike’s own fund-raising is particularly praise-worthy. I am delighted that he has agreed to represent the Foundation and make the cheque presentations to the three very worthy causes with whom we have worked.”

The 29th Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon takes place at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in Birmingham city centre and represents an ideal opportunity for a company Christmas party or to entertain rugby fans among important clients and stakeholders.

Tickets are £150 per person inclusive of VAT.

It includes a four course luncheon and entertainment from top comedian Austin Knight to complete what will be a superb afternoon.

A stellar career includes writing sketches and material for legendary performers such as Tommy Cooper and Les Dawson and he has also been in the stand-up game himself since the 1970s, fine tuning and adapting his hilarious routine to cover the topics of the day. He is an in-demand after dinner comedian and certain to be a hit at the 29th Annual Midland’s Sportsman’s Luncheon!

Midlands Sportsmans Luncheon - Austin Knight

Veteran comedian Austin Knight will be providing entertainment at the 29th Midlands Sportsmans Luncheon!

Mrs Sheasby added:

“We are expecting a big response from fans of the oval ball and indeed sports enthusiasts generally. This is definitely one where you will need to sign up early or risk missing out.”

Last year it attracted a sell-out audience of around 250 VIP guests.

Tindall played outside centre for Bath and Gloucester, captained England, and made 75 appearances for his country, scoring 74 points.

Other previous Guests of Honour include Phil Vickery, Simon Shaw, Jason Leonard, Will Greenwood, Ben Kay, Will Carling, Gavin Hastings, Ieuan Evans, Rob Andrew, Dean Richards, Jeremy Guscott, Jack Rowell, Sir Ian McGeechan, Paul Ackford, Martin Johnson, Gordon Brown, Willie John McBride, Fran Cotton, Sir Clive Woodward, Martin Bayfield, Fergus Slattery, John Bentley, Bill Beaumont, Austin Healey, and Jeff Probyn.

Prior to Eventmasters taking over the event, it was run for 20-plus years by Moseley stalwart, the late Greville Edwards.

Secure your tickets for the 29th Midlands Sportsmans Luncheon today!

Rugby Supporters in Charity Scrum-down

Charity came out the winner when legendary rugby star Sam Warburton was our Guest of Honour at the 28th Annual Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon held at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel.

This is always a popular event with our clients and attracted a sell-out audience. Former England and British and Irish Lions International Tim Stimpson was again our Master of Ceremonies and Jed Stone our headline comedian.

Stimpson got proceedings underway with introductions followed by grace (standing in for Peter Grace who was unfortunately unable to join us) before a sumptuous four-course lunch of starter, Chorizo, Pancetta and Gruyere Cheese tart. Main of Sirloin of the finest Scottish Beef, with seasonal vegetables. Sticky Toffee Pudding with Custard and a platter of Cheese and Biscuits. Not to mention coffee and a full-flowing bar!

We were delighted the event raised £7,256 for our nominated charity Wooden Spoon including a silent auction staged by our sister company The Silent Auction Events Company Limited.

Wooden Spoon is the children’s charity of rugby and provides sensory rooms, specialist playgrounds and sports activity areas to respite, medical and community care, the Spoon funds around 70 projects each year supporting disadvantaged and disabled children.

Warburton is the two times British & Irish Lions captain and has won 74 caps for Wales. In a special Q and A with Stimpson, Warburton forecasted that the Six Nations would be “wide open” in 2018. He cited that England would be the favourites but Ireland, Wales, Scotland and France were all in the frame. He said: “Being wide open makes it exciting. There are five teams with a genuine chance of coming out on top.” He predicted that away victories would be “very difficult”.

On a personal level, he hopes to return in the summer and get a good pre-season under his belt, then be fighting fit for new challenges ahead including being part of the 2019 World Cup.

Plans are already underway for 2018. The event will again be staged at the Macdonald’s Burlington Hotel, Birmingham City Centre, with a date set of Wednesday 12th December 2018.


Lions captain Warburton to speak at Birmingham’s top pre-Christmas sporting function

Sam Warburton, captain of the British & Irish Lions on their recent tour of New Zealand, is to be guest of honour at the Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon at the Macdonald Birmingham Hotel on Wednesday 20 December.

It is a major coup for sport in the city to attract a man who is a legend before he has even finished playing.

Boasting 74 caps for Wales, he is unbeaten as a two-time British & Irish Lions leader – having been victorious 2-1 in Australia in 2013 there were heroics earlier this year as New Zealand were held 1-1 with the final Test drawn.

In what is the 28th Midlands Sportsman’s Lunch, Warburton follows as speaker in the wake of a litany of rugby union greats – Phil Vickery MBE, Simon Shaw MBE, Jason Leonard OBE, Will Greenwood MBE, Ben Kay MBE, Will Carling OBE, Gavin Hastings OBE, Ieuan Evans, Rob Andrew MBE, Dean Richards, Jeremy Guscott, Jack Rowell OBE, Sir Ian McGeechan OBE, Paul Ackford, Martin Johnson CBE, Ian Robertson, Gordon Brown, Willie John McBride MBE, Fran Cotton, Geoff Cooke OBE, Sir Clive Woodward OBE, Martin Bayfield, Fergus Slattery, John Bentley, Bill Beaumont OBE, Austin Healey and Jeff Probyn.

Master of ceremonies is another former international, Tim Stimpson.

The event, organised by corporate hospitality agency Eventmasters, and which last year raised a total of £6,355 for Wooden Spoon, rugby’s children’s charity, attracts an audience of around 250, but, following the euphoria at doing so well against the All Blacks, that is expected to go far higher.

Eventmasters managing director Denise Sheasby said: “We are thrilled that Sam has accepted our invitation to be guest of honour.

“He is hugely admired across the rugby world, is a fine speaker, and is sure to provide an amazing insight into life with the Lions.

“We are expecting a big response from fans of the oval ball and indeed sports enthusiasts generally. This is definitely one where you will need to sign up early or risk missing out.”

Prices for this fantastic event start from just £150 Per Person (Inc VAT). 

For more details of this fantastic Festive Rugby Luncheon please follow the link.

We hope to see you there!

Eventmasters Boosts Wooden Spoon Rugby Charity

Eventmasters are delighted to announce that we raised a total of £6,355 for Wooden Spoon, rugby’s children’s charity.

It followed the generosity of those attending the 27th Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in Birmingham city centre, addressed by guest speaker former England captain Phil Vickery, plus other fund raising activities throughout 2016.

A cheque was presented to Wooden Spoon’s local representative Phil Pemble.

Eventmasters managing director Denise Sheasby said: “We always like to give something back to those less fortunate and Wooden Spoon is a great charity.”

From sensory rooms, specialist playgrounds and sports activity areas to respite, medical and community care, Wooden Spoon funds around 70 projects each year that support disadvantaged and disabled children. Since its foundation in 1983, it has distributed in excess of £24 million, helping over one million young people.

Eventmasters have provided the finest corporate hospitality packages at the UK’s biggest sporting events for over 30-years across rugby, horse racing, tennis, football, cricket and other sports.

Our major events throughout the year include Twickenham Six Nations, Cheltenham Festival, Chester May Festival, Royal Ascot, York Ebor Festival and the Henley Royal Regatta.

In addition we have strong relationships with Trent Bridge, Headingley, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and the Lawn Tennis Association for events such as the Aegon Classic Birmingham and Aegon Open Nottingham.

27th Annual Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon Review

Eventmasters were delighted to welcome former England captain and British & Irish Lions international Phil Vickery to the 27th Annual Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in Birmingham – and ‘The Raging Bull’ gave us his thoughts on the up-coming Six Nations and the British Lions tour to New Zealand in 2017.

The upcoming Six Nations is going to be fabulous as players battle for a place on the Lions tour to New Zealand.

That was the prediction from former England captain Phil Vickery speaking at the 27th Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon organised by corporate hospitality specialists Eventmasters.

The competition, which begins with England v France at Twickenham on February 4, was always difficult to call, declared the Cornish farmer’s son who won 73 caps for his country between 1998 and 2010.

Grand Slam winners England were strong, so were Ireland, the French were showing signs of stirring, while Scotland had come close without getting the results.

“The Celtic nations always perform brilliantly in a Lions year,” he cautioned.

And Vickery knows a thing or two about playing at the highest level given his pedigree – he was a member of the British & Irish Lions squad during the 2001 tour to Australia and the 2009 tour to South Africa, winning five caps. He is a World Cup winner being part of the 2003 England team and captained England in the 2007 World Cup Final.

He said: “Northern hemisphere rugby is on an upward curve.

“England have been brilliant. After the World Cup it was all doom and gloom. But Eddie Jones has come in and England have been Grand Slam winners, we won 3-0 in the Australian Test series, and there were victories over Argentina, South Africa, Fiji, and Australia again in the autumn internationals.

“English rugby is in a fantastic place.”

Phil Vickery believes the British Lions have the players to beat New Zealand

Replacing Dylan Hartley as guest speaker after the England captain stood down following his red card and ban, Vickery was cautious about how the Lions might fare.

He commented: “We are capable of winning – we have the players and the coaches. Can we win – yes we can. Are we going to win – I just don’t know. The thing about New Zealand is that they perform at a higher level for longer periods of time. It will take a monumental effort to beat them. The Lions can certainly expect a difficult time.”

But, he suggested it was not wise to look too far ahead.

“A lot of rugby has to be played before then and a lot can change. I think we are going to see a great Six Nations as players strive to put themselves in pole position for the Lions.”

Vickery said the game was “in good hands” though there were issues at the grass roots level plus particular concern over concussions.

Admitting to have been knocked out more than 20 times in his career, and with an eight-year-old son now learning the sport, he insisted: “Sometimes we suffer as a game for being too honest about things like concussion.

“It has been brought to the forefront and rightly so. But the authorities are doing a great deal to make it safe for kids. Can we do more – yes we can. Are we doing a lot – yes we are.”

Fiercely patriotic, Vickery revealed that he always sang the national anthem, God Save The Queen, with passion that declared – “I’m with you, girl!”

Finally, on a light-hearted note, the 2011 Celebrity MasterChef winner was happy to praise the food on offer at the Burlington Hotel – a menu consisting of duck and leek tart, sirloin of beef, bread and butter pudding, and cheese and biscuits.

“The food was very nice – it was warm and the beef was pink. For me beef and Yorkshire pudding are mother’s milk.”

Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon to Return in 2017

Eventmasters are delighted to announce that the Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon will return for its 28th renewal in 2017. The fabulous Horton Suite, Macdonald Burlington Hotel will again host the lunch, which is scheduled for Thursday 14th December 2017.

For more information please visit our 28th Annual Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon hospitality page.

Dylan Hartley Joins Eventmasters For Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon

Eventmasters are delighted to announce that England Rugby captain Dylan Hartley will join us as our guest of honour at the 27th Annual Midlands Sportsman’s LuncheonThursday 15th December 2016.

The fantastic event is one of the most popular rugby luncheons of the year, perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying a Christmas party with staff. The Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon has a history of attracting the biggest names in English rugby and we are thrilled that Hartley will join that list during 2016.

The event includes a superb four-course festive luncheon and further entertainment will be provided during the afternoon by renowned comedian Jamie Sutherland.

Company Director, Elliot Sheasby said: 

It will be great to have the Captain of England Dylan Hartley join us as our guest of honour for the 27th annual Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon. His attendance  will continue the high profile rugby representation at an event which has provided superb entertainment for our clients for over two decades. England Captains that have previously attended include Bill Beaumont, Will Carling and Martin Johnson who of course, along with Dylan, have all Captained the country to a Grand Slam Championship victory. It should be a tremendous afternoon”

Legendary England Captain Comes to Birmingham

The Northampton Saints hooker was born in Rotorua, New Zealand, but moved to England at the age of 16 and joined the Saints in 2005. Since then he has established himself as one of the best front-row forwards in world rugby.

Despite an infamous disciplinary record, Eddie Jones named Hartley as his skipper for England’s 2016 RBS Six Nations campaign – a decision that proved to be a magnificent piece of management.

Hartley was one of the standout performers for his country, leading England to their first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2003. Just months later the 30-year-old became the most capped hooker in English rugby history as he overtook the record of Steve Thompson in the pivotal second test against Australia in Melbourne.

On that day Hartley scored just his second try for England as they beat the Aussies 23-7. A week later he led the side to an unprecedented 3-0 series win – England’s first ever whitewash Down Under.

We are hoping Hartley arrives at the Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon on the back of clean sweep of victories in the Autumn Internationals, where England face South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia at Twickenham.

Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon Hospitality Packages Available Online

Don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy this superb festive event with the England captain. Our Midland’s Sportsman’s Luncheon hospitality packages are available to buy online for tables for 8 or 10 guests – please follow the link provided to secure your seats.

Line Up Confirmed for 26th Midlands Sportsmans Luncheon

England rugby legend Simon Shaw is to be guest of honour at the iconic Midlands Sportsman’s Luncheon at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel on Thursday December 17.

The event, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, is one of the highlights of the festive period for sports fans.

Rugby-themed, full of laughter and bonhomie, it is an ideal opportunity to entertain clients in the build up to Christmas.

A giant of a man at 6ft 8in, Shaw has 71 England caps, and went on three British & Irish Lions Tours – 1997 (South Africa), 2005 (New Zealand) and 2009 (South Africa).

He played for Bristol 1990-1997, London Wasps 1997-2011 and Toulon 2011-2013.

Gaining his first international cap against Italy in 1996, he earned his 20th during the 2003 Six Nations Championship, a Grand Slam year for England. Although not named in the original 30-man squad for the 2003 World Cup he was flown out to Australia as an injury replacement earning him an MBE as part of the World Cup winning team.

Far too modest, he keeps this in a drawer as he feels he didn’t “win” it as he never played in a Test. However it was all change at the 2007 Rugby World Cup where England against the odds reached the Final, narrowly missing out, with Shaw playing the full 80 minutes.

Surprisingly his only Lions cap came in his third and final tour in 2009 to South Africa making him the oldest person to ever be selected and play for a Lions team. He was selected to start in the second Test against the Springboks and he put in one of the most outstanding performances by a British and Irish lock, subsequently being named man of the match.

Master of Ceremonies is Tim Stimpson who himself earned 19 England caps and was with the British & Irish Lions in 1997.

Entertainment is from renowned comedian Jed Stone.


The occasion – don’t plan to go back to work – takes place in the Horton Suite and features a superb four course luncheon, Heads & Tails, a limited live auction and a silent auction in aid of a nominated charity.

Tables of 12 guests, situated at the front, a limited offer so get in quick, are available at £1,200.

Tables of 10 are priced at £1,000; table of eight, £855.

Individual places can be purchased for £110.


A truly fun afternoon which is not to be missed.

For more information or to purchase your tables for the 26th Midlands Sportsmans Luncheon please follow the links.

25th Annual Rugby-Themed Midlands Christmas Sportsmans Luncheon, Birmingham City Centre

Jason LeonardOver 250 guests attended the 25th Anniversary Midlands Sportsmans Luncheon supporting the Wooden Spoon charity on Wednesday 17th December. Guest of honour was legendary rugby star Jason Leonard who lived up to his massive reputation when addressing the knowledgable festive rugby audience at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in Birmingham City Centre.

The always high profile rugby-themed xmas event honouring late rugby host Greville Edwards also featured England internationals Tim Stimpson, master of ceremonies, and guest speaker (1 tour, 1 test, 1 try!) John Bentley – all with Leonard on the 1997 Lions tour of South Africa – along with celebrity impressionist and comedian Kevin Connelly.

Guests enjoyed a superb four-course lunch of Chicken & Chorizo Terrine; Roast 21 day aged finest Rib of Scottish beef served with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a red wine and horse radish jus; Traditional Christmas Pudding, Cheeseboard.

Naturally the speeches were all about violence, respect and laughter.

The man known as ‘The Fun Bus’ and ‘The Scourge of the Barking Barmaids’ becomes President of the Rugby Football Union in World Cup Year 2015, and clearly is trying to behave just a tiny bit better than the norm. But he has a particularly interesting take on the game because he spanned the amateur and professional era.

Leonard has won the highest international accolades possible – 114 England appearances, Grand Slams (1991, 1992, 1995 and 2003), the 2003 Rugby World Cup, and Lions tours in 1993, 1997 and 2001, asked who was the hardest front row forward he had come against, he chose the little known (today) Norman Hadley of Canada. Leonard, rather foolishly, had cause to smack Hadley, a delightful bruise started arising from around his opponent’s eye … but Hadley was disparaging – “Is that the best you have got, Princess?” he asked. Leonard spent the rest of the game one step ahead of Stormin Norm. “He was the only one on the pitch who was slower than I was,” quipped Leonard.

But then Leonard was in the toughest pack who probably have ever turned out for England – the likes of Winterbotham, Dooley, Ackford, Skinner, Moore and several other enforcers. “Dooley never wanted the ball – that wasn’t his game.” Wade was a policeman – as was his second row colleague Paul Ackford. Says it all really – safe to say the pair did not take prisoners. All good stuff.
Top Table
Best line from Stimpson was off mic – “This guy comes up to me and says, ‘you were a great back row player in your day.” Stimpson was a full back!

Plenty of funny lines from ‘Bentos’, a Yorkshireman from Cleckheaton.

“Cleckheaton is twinned with Las Vegas – they’re the only two places in the world you can get sex for chips!”

“It used to be a world in which parents had lots of children; now children have lots of parents!”

Denise with Wooden SpoonThe event raised a four figure sum for rugby charity Wooden Spoon through a game of Heads & Tails, a live auction and a silent auction.

And then we toasted Greville. Grumpy, curmudgeonly … but a lovely guy and much missed.

We can now look forward to the 26th Annual Midlands Sportsmans Luncheon, to be held on Thursday 17th December 2015, once again at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel. Absolutely the best pre-Christmas rugby luncheon in the country. We hope to see you there!