KUI Tan, the poor relations of the Hong Kong First Division football, have struck it Rich. Two of the big success stories in Hong Kong this season have been Kui Tan's central defensive pairing of Richard Crossley and Richard Webb - one from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, via York City and Michelotti; the other from Lima in Peru, via college in New York State and the Hong Kong Football Club. Their paths crossed at Kui Tan in September and the pair - and the club - have never looked back. Against all the odds, Kui Tan stayed well clear of the relegation zone throughout the season and have earned their reward with an Esso FA Cup semi-final tie today against the holders and league champions Eastern at the Hong Kong Stadium. And the two Richards will be in the thick of the action as they attempt to keep out Eastern's free-scoring forwards, spearheaded by 21-goal Dale Tempest. When Tempest, now 30, was leading the line for Huddersfield Town in the mid-1980s, Crossley, 23, was on the terraces on match days and on the club's books as a schoolboy. ''I was born in Huddersfield and joined them as a schoolboy when I was 11,'' said Crossley. ''Then I played in the reserves and was an apprentice professional for two years.'' His Football League debut came in April 1990, by which time he had moved on to York City, and it wasn't the most comfortable of afternoons against Carlisle United's Jamaica-born giant of a centre forward, Keith Walwyn. ''I just remember nutting the back of his head a few times because he was so big I couldn't get near the ball. But after the game he said I'd done all right, which felt quite good,'' Crossley said. After a total of six league appearances for York, Crossley was given a free transfer at the end of the 1990-91 season and accepted an offer to play in Hong Kong by Huddersfield-based businessman Chris Galvin, who was in partnership with Hong Kong-based Sammy Yu, team manager of the Michelotti Football Club. ''It was the wrong time and the wrong thing and I admit I had a crap season with Michelotti,'' said Crossley. ''I had some Achilles tendon and knee problems so decided to stay at home last season and get everything sorted out. I started studying and doing a bit of modelling for an agency and ended up on the cat walk. ''Last summer, though, I decided to come back to Hong Kong to look for work and packed my football boots just in case. I had a lot to prove to a lot of people that I could do it and Kui Tan were the only team prepared to give me a chance.'' Crossley paid his own way out here and Kui Tan boss Raymond Ng Wai-man threw him his footballing lifeline. ''He told me that some team managers had advised him not to sign me but said that if I gave him face, he would give me a contract. ''We started the league season with a 2-0 win over Instant-Dict, I scored a goal and did quite well against Graham Harvey and, two games later, Raymond said 'Crossley - ho yeah'. '' Roughly translated into Huddersfield language, that meant ''you'll do for me, lad'' and Crossley was signed for the season. ''The reason why Raymond likes us so much is because we are the poorest paid foreign players in Hong Kong,'' added Crossley. ''Compared to the others it's sickening - but what can you do when you want to play so badly.'' Crossley and 24-year-old Webb are deployed as man-markers in Kui Tan's five-strong defence and they have had outstanding seasons. Webb, who has an English mother from Wimbledon but who was born in Peru, where his half-English, half-Peruvian father worked for the government, summed up Kui Tan's approach. ''At the start of the season Kui Tan were regarded as having a lot of no-name foreigners and the dregs of the Chinese players who weren't good enough to get in the top teams,'' said Webb. ''It goes to show that maybe there is not that big a difference between the other Chinese players and ours; they have proved that if they fight they can do well.'' Webb has achieved what he set out to do after graduating from college in New York State in 1992 - he has become a professional footballer, although he acknowledges he is ''probably the worst paid in the league''. Webb's family moved to New Jersey when he was only two years old and he was brought up on the campus of Princeton University. After attending college in New York State, Webb moved to Hong Kong in December 1992. ''I was planning to go to Europe and join a lower division club somewhere but I had a college friend who was teaching in Hong Kong so I decided to come here. ''I can't complain, though; it's not been a bad first experience for me.'' Or a bad second experience for the other Richard, Crossley.