YORK City Knights Ladies star Kelsey Gentles admits that there will be some nerves as she prepares to face former club Castleford Tigers.

York take on Castleford in the semi-finals of the Women's Challenge Cup at the LNER Community Stadium tomorrow afternoon (12.30pm).

The game is being broadcast live by the BBC and presents York with the chance to reach their first Challenge Cup final.

The Knights' task looks daunting on paper, as they face the finalists of the past two seasons, Castleford.

But York have five former Tigers players in their side, including Gentles, and ex-Cas coach Lindsay Anfield as director of women's rugby, all of whom made the switch to North Yorkshire earlier this month.

Explaining her move from Castleford, England international Gentles said: “It has been a tough year with Covid and teams change.

"With Lindsay stepping down from coaching at Cas, it was a really hard adjustment.

“I was thinking to myself ‘This is the World Cup year, I want to progress and play my best rugby’.

“I think I’d got into a bit of a rut where I was playing okay, but not to my standards. I wanted a new challenge.

“Around that time, Jon Flatman was coming in with all of these ideas about where he wanted to take York.

“It is such an exciting venture and I’ve seen what he’s done with the men’s team. It was so appealing when I had a conversation with him.”

The Knights have beaten Wakefield Trinity and Wigan Warriors to reach the last four of the cup and defeated Featherstone in first round of the Betfred Women's Super League.

But, the challenge of Castleford is evidently the toughest of the lot for York.

“We’ve got confidence having won our last two games and I think that’s confidence that we did need," said Gentles.

“Playing against my old team, I am really nervous. But I think that that is natural because there are a lot of emotions that go with that.

“Cas are a really good team with six England internationals and they’re attack is so free-flowing.

“Georgia Roche pulls a lot of their strings at half-back and, since we’ve left, they’ve probably come up with four or five new combinations and plays.

“But, I think those two wins have put us in a good position to give them a really good game.”

Asked if she was surprised by the results so far, given that York had won just one league game in 2019, Gentles replied: "We didn’t think that we’d have gelled as well as we have done. All the other teams have had solid pre-seasons, whereas, all together, we’ve trained a few times and played twice (since seven new players including Gentles joined).

“We’ve really thrown ourselves into the deep end but I think that we’ve shown that we can compete against talented players.

“I think that confidence in the camp is growing. By the time that we get to the business end of the season we’ll really be flying.”