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COMMISSIONED WORK

Trample those Tigers

In February, 2008, Michael was approached via the British Poetry Society and asked if he would be interested in an unusual commission. Worcester npower, sponsors of professional sports in the county, were looking for a poet to write an anthemic rallying- cry for Worcester Warriors RFC, who at the time were going through a drought and languishing near the bottom of the Guinness Rugby Premiership league. A crucial match against Leicester Tigers was coming up on Saturday 8th March. Michael duly composed ‘Trample Those Tigers!’ to (he hoped) fire up the Warriors and lead them to a famous victory. Below is the Worcester News report on the occasion, followed by the poem itself.
For the record, the Warriors won!

Warriors on the r-ode to victory
By Tom Guest
DOUBTLESS the Worcester Warriors players would have been well versed in their line-out calls and set-pieces moves this week as they prepared for Saturday's Sixways showdown with reigning Guinness Premiership champions Leicester Tigers.
However, it is a different kind of verse that club sponsor npower have come up with to help the Warriors cause.
The energy provider have commissioned local poet Michael W.Thomas to come up with an ode to inspire Mike Ruddock's men to victory over the Tigers - well that's the idea anyway!
Match day announcer Dave Bradley will recite Trample those Tigers' in the build up to tomorrow's match.
Michael, who lives in Stourport, said: "There is a long tradition of poets inspiring warriors to great victories. So what could be more apt than a poem to help our beloved Warriors slay the Tigers?"
Quite what the Leicester players and supporters will make of it, who knows! Anyway, here it is: Trample Those Tigers!! (for Worcester Warriors RFC, on the occasion of their combat against Leicester Tigers, Saturday, 8th March, 2008, Sixways, Worcester).

Trample those Tigers!!

The training’s all finished, the work-out’s complete,
The pitch has re-echoed to circuiting feet,
All sinews and nerves to the task are now strained
(and the last pint of beer’s been reluctantly drained).

Yesterday’s over—all woes and despair
Have flown clean away like bad news on the air.
The Warriors are braced for their Tigerish game—
To pile up the points, to trumpet their fame.

Yes—Tigers are sleek and ferocious and sly
And hoist tails like pennants while thundering by—
But each cat has its day.  There’s no doubt--they must yield
And go rump over tip on the Warriors’ shield.

The Ruddock pronouncements have all come to pass:
‘No time to relax or ease off on the gas.’
Each ruck’s been rehearsed with tight-shouldered prowess,
Each line-out refined with high-clutching finesse.

Who gives a thought now to the Sarries and Quins
With their dandified logos, their devious sins
Of loose play and mad tackles?  Their glories are dead
(And their kicking’s atrocious.  Swerve clear.  Mind your head).

Ah, how can you guess, Tiger cubs unprepared,
That, on Saturday bright, not a trick will be spared
To harry and rout you?  The Warriors bold
Will monopolise all.  Best stay home.  Plead a cold.

The Sixways arena, the proud Worcester sun
Will cheer every ball turned, each swift, winding run,
Each break for the grail of a plum mid-post try.
Each canny conversion that shivers the sky.

So it’s farewell to Ospreys, Montauban and Sale—
The Warrior fist has the Tigerish tail
In its grip.  Let detractors cry ‘No chance’ and ‘Finis’—
The Warriors’ day is here—make theirs a Guinness!

4:27pm Thursday 6th March 2008


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