NGAN Mei-tik struck gold in her first attempt at the Solo Verse Speaking competition. Mei-tik, a sixth former at Po On Commercial Association Wong Siu Ching Secondary School, won acclaim from judge Malcolm Wilson for her ability to communicate the feeling of the poem, ''Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night'' by Dylan Thomas. ''I didn't expect to win as my last practice was a disaster. Although my instructor pacified me and said I'd do okay, I'm surprised and thrilled to be the winner,'' the 17-year-old said. Mei-tik, an experienced contestant in Chinese verse speaking competition, wanted to try something different in her last year of school, so she picked English verse speaking, which she had never done before. However, she found adapting to the style of English verse speaking difficult. ''My instructor told me I didn't need to overplay as is necessary in Chinese verse speaking. ''I learned the expression and pronunciation from a tape of the poet reading his work, but he was so natural that I felt I couldn't duplicate it.'' The poem is an emotional and sensual piece about fear of death. This, too, was hard for Mei-tik as she said she was too young to think seriously about death. Although Lew Ming-chuen, last year's winner in this category, came second this year, he was not disappointed. The fourth former said he was satisfied with his performance. Ming-chuen, who has been taking part in the festival since Form Two, spent a month preparing for his entry, ''Dad and the Cat and the Tree'' by Kit Wright. ''It's a very interesting, good poem. It's also very easy to express,'' said the 15-year-old from Kiangsu-Chekiang College, Kwai Chung. He said his instructor never forced him to practise and he, together with two other classmates, only practised for 15 minutes after school. ''Our teacher always reminds us to be natural and to pay more attention to our expressions and pronunciation,'' Ming-chuen said. The judge praised him for his natural intonation and effective reading of the poem. Second runner-up Tsoi Wai-ho was also a first time participant in the contest. Unlike other contenders whose instructors helped them to choose the poem, the Form Six student from Shek Lei Catholic Secondary School picked the poem, ''Richard Cory'' by Edwin Arlington Robinson, himself. ''I like the dramatic mood of the poem. The character has a dramatic but tragic life that really intrigues me,'' Wai-ho said. He said the prize had strengthened his confidence in English verse speaking and that he would take part in the competition again next year.