ESSEX Spartans fell to another heavy defeat as they lost 68-14 against Cambridgeshire Cats.

The injury-depleted Spartans fought bravely but were ultimately outclassed as the Cats were able to use their extensive roster of American servicemen to full effect.

After an early Spartans turnover, the Cats jumped out to a quick 20-0 lead in the opening quarter.

The Spartans, travelling with a smaller squad and with players asked to fill in at positions they have not played before, struggled to make an impact on the game.

The second quarter saw Spartans head coach Marc Saunders deliver a punishing hit to the Cats quarterback, forcing him to fumble the football, and Spartan’s defensive captain Lawrence Reid scooped the loose ball and sprinted for the end-zone.

But the score was negated by Reid being ruled down before he advanced the ball.

Ally Minto did finally put the visitors on the board with a long kick return and Steve Watson connected with Paul Cossu for the two-point conversion, but that left the Spartans trailing 41-8 at half-time.

Neil Cooper registered his second interception of the season in the third quarter, but any hopes of a Spartans comeback were extinguished.

Craig Willis scored the Spartans final points with another long kick return, but with the conversion attempt failing, it ended 68-14.

“Injuries have really taken their toll and attrition played a massive part in the game,” said Saunders.

The Spartans end their 2012 season next weekend when they play the return match against the Cats at Hannakins Farm, Billericay . Kick-off is 2.30pm.